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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

Enactus heeds call to be of service to its communities
2017-01-17

 Description: Enactus Tags: Enactus

The newly-elected vice president of Enactus
University of the Free State, Solomuzi Khati
(third from left) with members of Enactus on
the Qwaqwa Campus.
Photo: Thabo Kessah


The future of South Africa is in good hands if Enactus activities are anything to go by. Enactus is an international non-profit organisation bringing together student, academic and business leaders committed to using entrepreneurial action to improve lives. And the Qwaqwa Campus chapter is doing exactly that – changing lives.

Community engagement
This team of enthusiastic and energetic students have touched the Qwaqwa community in more ways than one through their community engagement activities. One such activity was when they adopted the Team Spirit Centre as their partner for development and empowerment.

“Up to now, the chapter has lived up to its purpose of assisting and uplifting the Qwaqwa community. As part of our programme, we identified a problem that we are currently helping to solve,” said Solomuzi Khati, the newly-elected vice president of Enactus University of the Free State.

Skills development
“We have realised that many centres housing orphaned and vulnerable children, like the Team Spirit in Makoane in Qwaqwa, are not sustainable. Our project introduced a business concept to the centre where we helped to plant vegetables so the owner Mrs Manthabeleng could then use and sell at a later stage,” he said. “In the process, students and Mrs Manthabeleng would develop various entrepreneurial, finance and business skills for future use on top of the centre generating income to sustain itself,” he added.

Appointment of Advisory Board
Khati also revealed Enactus was in the process of inviting business and community leaders into their Business Advisory Board. “This is a group of business people who are recruited to serve as mentors for our team. Typically, a Business Advisory Board is composed of 10-50 business leaders in the community. Board members can keep students informed of current business concerns and trends, provide financial or in-kind assistance for projects, critique annual reports and presentations, and provide networking opportunities.”

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