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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

UFS welcomes Pres Jacob Zuma’s statement about 0% increase in tuition fees for 2016
2015-10-23

The senior leadership of the University of the Free State welcomes the announcement made this afternoon by President Jacob Zuma about a 0% increase in tuition fees for 2016.

“We support the announcement by President Zuma, after consultation with university leaders. This will provide enormous relief for struggling students and their families across the three campuses. We now look forward to the details of how universities will be supported financially to enable this to happen,” says Prof Jansen.

The university leadership commends the vast majority of students for their disciplined behaviour and commitment during this period and hope to build on this momentum to contribute to the further transformation of the university and higher education sector.

The court interdict obtained on 21 October 2015 has been withdrawn. “We would like to take the opportunity to thank the South African Police Service (SAPS) and our own staff for their unwavering support and cooperation during this week, especially those staff who performed essential services,” says Prof Jansen.

Academic and administrative activities will resume on all three campuses of the UFS as from Monday 26 October 2015.

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

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