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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

Meet our Council: Ndaba Ntsele – Inspiring entrepreneurs
2016-04-19

Description: Ndaba Ntsele Tags: Ndaba Ntsele

Mr Ntsele
Photo: Stephen Collett

 To call Mr Ndaba Ntsele just a businessman seems like a bit of an understatement. The Executive Chairman and co-founder of Pamodzi Group Limited lives and breathes business, entrepreneurship, and wealth creation. He is also a member of the Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) since September 2013.

His greatest passion is entrepreneurship, and sharing his ideas of self-employment with young (and old) South Africans. “I preach self-employment wherever I go. Everyone knows that unemployment is a major problem in our country. However, people often expect the government or big corporations to provide them with jobs. I like to influence people to start thinking about working for themselves, thereby creating opportunities for employing others,” he says.

His entrepreneurial drive extends even to his time on the UFS Council. Now in his second term, Mr Ntsele has been well placed to get a sense of the kind of contribution the university and its students could make to South Africa, and even further afield.  

“In addition to training students for all the other important industries in South Africa, I think the UFS is ideally situated to create agricultural entrepreneurs. The Free State is one of South Africa’s prime agricultural areas, after all. Food security is an issue worldwide, and it is an area in which we could make a real contribution by training food producers, food technologists, and agricultural specialists. In fact, I think the UFS could become the leading agricultural institution in the country.”

Being the best is something that he strives for continually, while high standards are not something he shirks. In fact, he believes that Council members should hold an institution accountable for maintaining the highest standards possible, whether it is in governance, financials, procurement, or any other areas of importance in an institution.

As the executive chairman of a multi-billion African-owned group with assets across the globe, Mr Ntsele does not have a great deal of free time. However, he enjoys sitting down with MBA students and graduates to share his views about entrepreneurship.

“If I can change their mind-set from ‘others must employ me’ to ‘I need to create my own employment’, then I will feel as if I have accomplished something,” he says.

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