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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

All activities on UFS Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses postponed until Monday 26 October 2015
2015-10-22

All academic and administrative activities on the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses of the University of the Free State (UFS) have been postponed until Monday 26 October 2015.

UFS students joined the national protests against the increases in class and study fees at universities across the country on Tuesday 20 October 2015.

All campuses of the UFS were closed down on Wednesday 21 October 2015 and a court interdict was granted the same day against conduct by anyone who intends to damage the property of the university or who interferes with the rights of others.

Additional security measures have been implemented at all residences on the Bloemfontein Campus today, and no acts of violence or intimidation have been reported in residences. The situation on the Bloemfontein Campus grounds is monitored carefully to ensure calmness.

Messages doing the round on social media today that management agreed to a 0% increase in fees in 2016 are not true. The university management are continuously communicating with the Student Representative Council (SRC), while working incessantly to restore peace and stability on the Bloemfontein Campus.

“Although the university management supports the right of students to protest, it has a responsibility towards the university community to ensure the safety of property and people, as well as the rights of other students who do not feel inclined to participate in this movement. The university management calls on non-protesting students to remain calm and to refrain from getting into any confrontation with protesting students. This is a trying time for universities across the country, and the main concern of the UFS management is to maintain stability on the campuses,” says Prof Nicky Morgan, Acting Rector of the UFS.

 “We are committed to working together as institution in finding viable solutions to the plight of poor students at our university. The university management is also committed to participate in national initiatives to revise the manner in which universities are funded,” says Prof Morgan.

Information about the predicates and upcoming exam will be shared with students on the various communication platforms of the university on Friday 23 October 2015. Students who had to write tests or exams, but could not do so due to the protest action, will not be prejudiced.

 
Released by:
Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
news@ufs.ac.za
+27(0)51 401 3422
+27(0)83 645 2454


Facebook message from UFS SRC (26 October 2015)

UFS welcomes Pres Jacob Zuma’s statement about 0% increase in tuition fees for 2016 (23 October 2015)

UFS postpones examinations to Monday 2 November 2015 (23 October 2015)

Letter to students from Prof Jonathan Jansen about student protest actions at the UFS (22 October 2015)

UFS obtains court interdict against protesting students - classes will resume on 22 October 2015 (21 October 2015)

UFS management closes down all three campuses on 21 October 2015 (20 October 2015)

UFS responds to concerns around high costs of higher education (Letter from Prof Jonathan Jansen -19 October 2015)


 

 

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