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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

Incident during FNB Shimlas and FNB Ikey Tigers Varsity Cup rugby match on 13 February 2017
2017-02-13

An incident involving a group of about 20 students of the University of the Free State (UFS) occurred at Xerox Shimla Park on the Bloemfontein Campus tonight.

The incident took place 10 minutes before the end of the match when the group moved through the entrance gates. The group requested the university management to suspend the match and to make a public announcement regarding the Shimla Park Report. The group was addressed at the spectator stands by the Acting Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Prof Nicky Morgan.

“This was an unfortunate incident that could have been avoided by way of earlier engagements. The Shimla Park Report was released to the student leadership structures as well as union and management structures earlier this month. The university management is of the opinion that it was unnecessary to interrupt a public event and has offered to meet with the leadership of the group about the involvement of students in the proposed actions and implementation of the recommendations mentioned in the report, as well as other transformation interventions at the UFS as decided by the Council,” said Prof Morgan.

The UFS gave an undertaking to the organisers of Varsity Cup and made the necessary contingency plans to ensure that the match was not disrupted. This included the presence of the university’s Protection Services and a standby unit of the South African Police Service.

The match was played until full-time, with the final score 22-7 in favour of the FNB Ikey Tigers.

 

Released by:
Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Telephone: +27 51 401 2584 | +27 83 645 2454
Email: news@ufs.ac.za | loaderl@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27 51 444 6393

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