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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

Dean of Law appointed for second term as acting judge in the Free State High Court
2017-02-17

Description: Prof Nicholson  Tags: Prof Nicholson

Prof Caroline Nicholson, Dean of the Faculty of Law

The Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof Caroline Nicholson, has been re-appointed by the Judge President of the Free State High Court, Judge Mahube Molemela, to serve a full term in 2017 as an acting judge. This will be her second term, as she served in the same position in early 2016, and it is such, a testament to her outstanding work. Her re-appointment is a source of pride not only to the University of the Free State, but the city of Bloemfontein, and the region as a whole.

Since taking up the position of Dean in 2015, Prof Nicholson has demonstrated exceptional leadership, and continues to take great strides in developing the Faculty’s internal and external programmes. “I am delighted that the University has facilitated my taking advantage of this opportunity. During this term, I will be exposed to a diversity of legal matters both civil and criminal, some of which I was not exposed to during my previous acting period. The exposure to the practical aspects of the law from the perspective of the Bench will inform my decisions regarding curriculum review and development, at a time when the faculty is actively engaged in ensuring that curriculum content is both relevant and context-appropriate,” said Prof Nicholson.

She adds that her appointment as acting judge will strengthen the Faculty’s positive relationship with the legal profession and, especially with the Bench. It will also benefit the Faculty, its staff and students.  In 2015, the Faculty partnered with the International Association of Women Judges (Free State Chapter), to host a dinner, which will be hosted again this month. The association brought to the fore new ventures into the involvement of women judges in an advisory capacity and sharing of expertise. In 2016, members of the association began to enact this role.

Judge Molemela and Judge Azhar Cachalia of the Supreme Court of Appeal accepted appointments to the Advisory Board of the Free State Centre for Human Rights. Judge Khalipi “Jake” Moloi of the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein, gave trial advocacy tips to teachers, coaching the Schools Moot Court Competition. Prof Nicholson said: “It is hoped that more opportunities will arise to increase interaction between students and the judiciary, both are eager for this to happen. I am also learning a great deal and am once again enjoying the collegial and supportive environment that my colleagues create at the High Court.”

Prof Nicholson holds an LLD from University of South Africa, and has published several research articles in accredited journals, with a special interest in Family Law and children’s rights.

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