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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

Harmony contributes to Right to Learn campaign
2016-04-28


Harmony, a residence on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State, recently made a contribution to the Right to Learn campaign. From left is: Tiisetso Magampe, Residence Assistant Finance at Harmony, Pulane Malefane, Harmony Residence Head, Sikhulekile (SK) Luwaca, Student Representative Council (SRC) Associations, and Johan Diedericks, Harmony SRC Guardian. Photo: Palesa Matsolo.

Harmony, a residence of the University of the Free State (UFS), recently used a breakfast for academic achievement to also make a contribution to the Right to Learn Campaign. The first-year residence on the Bloemfontein Campus of the UFS donated R6 300 to the campaign, which was started in response to the dire need for financial relief for academically deserving students from underprivileged backgrounds.

 

On 9 April 2016, the event was concluded with a Right to Learn poem and the handover of a cheque to the Student Representative Council (SRC) towards the campaign. The SRC launched the Right to Learn campaign on 30 October 2015 as a supplementary initiative to the #FeesMustFall movement. The proceeds will be channelled towards reducing the number of students who will face de-registration in 2016, to the SRC textbook bursary, and to food bursaries.

 

According to Pulane Malefane, Head of Harmony Residence, the breakfast was held to celebrate the academic achievements of the residence. Harmony prides itself on academic excellence, and instils this value into its first years at the beginning of the year.

The best academic achievers were recognised, according to their performance during matric. This was done in order to encourage the students to keep on excelling at university.

Harmony also acknowledged its student leaders motivating the first–year students.

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