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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 hosts the biggest HIV/AIDS event in its history
2007-10-05

The Chief Directorate: Community Service at the University of the Free State (UFS), in partnership with the Free State Department of Education, will host the biggest HIV/AIDS focus event in the history of the university.

The event will take place on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein and the theme will be: Management of HIV/AIDS in the Workplace.

According to the Chief Director of Community Service at the UFS, the Rev Kiepie Jaftha, this event forms part of a wider role of his directorate to raise the level of awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS within the university and the higher education sector in South Africa. It will also enhance the executive management’s buy-in and ownership of this role and incorporate the flow of HIV/AIDS information and activities into the core business of the UFS.

The focus will be on getting the executive management, middle management, aspiring managers and those who are affected by the decisions of the management, on board in the university’s endeavour to manage and create HIV/AIDS awareness in the workplace.

Most importantly, community members will also form an essential part of this event as the UFS strives to get them also involved in HIV/AIDS education and awareness.

“We hope to release the valve of denialism and stir the excitement amongst people, to encourage them to get involved in creating awareness within their workplaces, institutions and society,” said the Rev Jaftha.


To that effect, the Director of the Africa Centre for HIV/AIDS Management at the University of Stellenbosch, Prof. Jan du Toit, will deliver a keynote address. There will also be a mini-musical production called Lucky, the Hero, directed by the well-known stage performer and director of Educational Theatre and creative arts for the Africa Centre for HIV/AIDS Management, Prof. Jimmie Earl Perry.

The 25 tables for the event have been sold at a cost of R1 500 each and the beneficiaries thereof will be a local non-governmental organization (NGO), namely the Lebone Land Care Centre. The UFS has a long-standing relationship with the Lebone Land Care Centre, where students are sent as part of the implementation of their community service learning modules to enhance their practical skills. Now the university intends to formalise this partnership.

“I admire the holistic manner of approach the Lebone Land Care Centre uses towards caring for people who are infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and the way they make people realise that they can still live a meaningful life and add dignity and value to society,” enthused Rev Jaftha.

The NGO will also receive an award from Spar, one of the biggest supermarket groups in South Africa.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@mail.ufs.ac.za
04 October 2007
 

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