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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

Kovsie singing sensation releases debut album
2017-02-16

Description:Hailey Clark, Deurmekaar Tags: Hailey Clark, Deurmekaar longdesc=

Hailey Clark, musician and
third-year BA Drama and
Theatre Arts student at the
University of the Free State.
Photo: Sonelle van Wyk.

Music was always something this singing sensation wanted to do from a very early age.

Sonet du Plessis, more famously known by her stage name, Hailey Clark, is a third-year BA Drama and Theatre Arts student at the University of the Free State (UFS). Her electronic pop debut album, titled Deurmekaar, was finally launched after a year of hard work and sacrifice.

Success in English and Afrikaans

Hailey, whose album features Afrikaans and English songs, says her music is influenced and inspired by a variety of local sounds and artists. “Dirk van der Westhuizen and Refentse – a new and upcoming artist – are two of the locals I look up to,” she says.

Reaching success at such a young age is the result of setting goals and achieving them. “Success is when you grow as a person and an artist in your music. You need to enjoy every moment of what you do and share it with other people,” Hailey says.

Future music producer and actress

With a bright future ahead of her, Hailey wants to become a full-time musician, but also wants to focus on acting, especially in films. “I want to perform as much as possible and hopefully become a music producer. I also have plans to do some acting as well.”

For all those who dream of becoming a musician, it’s hard work, Hailey says. “You have to know it is something you want to do and you have to commit to it. If it is what you want, keep focused and surround yourself with positive and encouraging people.”

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