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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

Professor awarded by Cardiff University for exceptional teaching and research record
2015-10-20

Prof Pieter Duvenage
Cardiff University is one of the best research universities in the United Kingdom (UK) and the world. In 2014, Cardiff was ranked number 2 and 5 among UK universities in the Research Excellence Framework for impact and quality, respectively.

Annually, Cardiff selects and recruits the most outstanding teachers and researchers from across the globe. This year, this institution bestowed on Professor Pieter Duvenage the title of Honorary Professorship in Political Philosophy for his contribution and commitment to philosophical research in South Africa and internationally. Prof Duvenage is Head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of the Free State (UFS).

Prof Duvenage has authored and co-authored four books, publishing almost 40 accredited articles in journals and books. As a distinguished scholar, he displays immense dedication to the investigation of the political implications of intellectual traditions.

Since 1997, Prof Duvenage has been lecturing philosophy as an associate professor, full professor, or visiting professor at various South African and Australian universities. He was appointed as Head of the Department of Philosophy in 2011, where he continues to explore his interests in Phenomenology, Critical Theory, and South African Intellectual History.

His rich academic history had earned him the prestigious five-year Honorary Professorship at Cardiff’s Department of Politics.  In 2014, the same university invited Prof Duvenage to be a Professorial Fellow of the Collingwood and British Idealism Centre for an indefinite period.

Professor David Boucher, Director of the Collingwood and British Idealism Centre, has played a crucial role in initiating both processes. According to Prof Duvenage, “Professor Boucher is a respected British academic and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg.”

When Boucher announced the good news, Prof Duvenage was very surprised. “The appointment came as a total surprise. I never studied there [at Cardiff University], therefore it was purely through academic networks.”

Considering Cardiff’s reputation and Prof Duvenage’s exceptional skill sets and values, his relationship with the world-leading university in research is bound to blossom.

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