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07 May 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Charl Devenish
Noko Masalesa
Noko Masalesa, Director of Protection Services, in conversation with students and stakeholders to plan a safe way forward.

Safety and security are human rights that constitute social justice. At the centre of the agenda at the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Social Justice Week held on the Bloemfontein Campus from 17-22 April 2019 were discussions about off-campus safety. Stakeholders agreed on an upgrade to security measures in order to ensure the success and wellbeing of the student population.

A call to students

Prof John Mubangizi, Dean of the Faculty of Law, in his capacity as representative of the UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, expressed his view on institutions of higher learning no longer functioning as ivory towers. “For any initiative to succeed, collaboration is necessary between key roleplayers,” he said.

He aptly pointed out that: “We cannot underscore the importance of safety and security, not only for the university but also for the communities around us. What the university does benefits the community and vice versa. I pledge the university’s commitment to play a leading part to ensure that the collaboration works,” said Prof Mubangizi.

Beefing up security: Who is involved?

In view of the collaborative effort Prof Mubangizi alluded to, the engagement was twofold. First was the roundtable discussion facilitated by Protection Services which then escalated into a public dialogue where students had the opportunity to interact with external delegates.

The South African Police Services, Community Police Forum, Private Security, Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, Provincial Commissioner, and Deputy Minister of Police were well represented in this critical conversation. Internally, members of Protection Services, Housing and Residence Affairs, Student Affairs, Institute for Social Justice and Reconciliation, Student Representative Council, and the Department of Criminology heard the plight of off-campus safety faced by students.

Changes in the horizon

The discussions culminated with recommendations which will see the future of student safety take a different direction. According to Skhululekile Luwaca, former SRC president, these include “the municipality’s commitment to immediately address issues such as street lights and enforcing by-laws, ensuring an integrated accreditation system, and drafting a policy for off-campus accommodation, running more crime awareness campaigns, and giving police patrols more visibility.”

In addition to resolving to set up a student safety forum with all the stakeholders, the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality has invited the UFS to join Reclaim the City – a safety forum where practical solutions to crime are devised and implemented on a weekly basis.


News Archive

Social cohesion tops the agenda at arts week
2015-08-31


What’s the Difference deur Tanya Britz
Photo: Lelanie de Wet

Launching the annual Arts 4 Social Justice (A4SJ) week, taking place from 12-19 August 2015 at the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice (IRSJ) the Bloemfontein Campus was alive with artworks placed in various buildings and open spaces.

Angelo Mockie said, “This is an opportunity to share knowledge.” Mockie is the coordinator of the annual Arts 4 Social Justice week which gives artists a platform to convey their experiences, and engage students and the public on social issues of national significance.


Meaningful Places deur Adelheid von Maltitz, bygestaan deur Nicolene Jonker en Xoliswa Msimango
Photo: Michelle Nothling

Coinciding with the week’s events, the IRSJ launched the National Flagship Project in the Visual Arts, funded by the National Arts Council. The theme of the project is ‘Emancipating the African voice in the visual arts for social cohesion purposes’. According to Mockie, “this endeavour is crucial to confronting the histories, policies, and practices that have shaped and constrained the intellectual and social mandates of higher education institutions.”

Adelheid von Maltitz, Klas Thibeletsa, Richard Bollers, and Jaco Spies were some of the artists exhibiting their creative work. A host of students from the university’s Fine Arts Department also presented their works across the campus.

The focus on social justice aims to inspire audiences toward developing engaged citizenship and cohesive communities.

 



What’s the Difference deur Tanya Britz
Photo: Michelle Nothling


History is the Required Process by Motseokae Klas Thibeletsa

 

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