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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 gets more than R3 Million for HIV/Aids activities
2007-12-13

 

In the picture are some of the members of the project team. From the left are: Mr Pieter du Plessis (Finances), Ms Estelle Heideman (HIV/Aids Co-ordinator: Lengau Agri Development Centre) and Rev Jaftha.
 

UFS gets more than R3 Million for HIV/Aids activities

The Chief Directorate: Community Service at the University of the Free State (UFS) has received more than R3 million to intensify activities regarding HIV/AIDS at all UFS campuses for the next seventeen months.

Higher Education HIV/AIDS Programme (HEAIDS) contributed R3 127 207 and the UFS R615 116 towards this initiative. The money will be used to implement intervention strategies from 1 January 2008 to 31 May 2009.

“The mandate poses an extensive challenge and puts pressure on the institution, but at the same time creates some incredible opportunities for intervention,” said the Chief Director of Community Service and Project Co-ordinator, Rev. Kiepie Jaftha.

HEAIDS is a nationally co-ordinated initiative to develop and strengthen the capacity of South African higher education institutions to respond to the causes, challenges and consequences of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the sector. It is an initiative of the Department of Education and the implementing agency is Higher Education South Africa (HESA), an organisation representing vice-chancellors of tertiary institutions in South Africa.

The proposed areas and actions of intervention are categorised into three main components, namely:

- Prevention, treatment, care and support aimed at both students and staff on all UFS campuses.
Incorporation of HIV/AIDS issues into the teaching offerings of the UFS and the development of a formal policy in this regard.

- Implementation of an integrated management information system to empower stakeholders to make decisions and adapt actions by visualising facts, actions and progress on the overall HIV/AIDS programme.

The UFS met all the requirements of HEAIDS to qualify for this funding. A five-member team was formed to come up with a document entitled The Quest for an AIDS Competent Society that met the required standards.

“Each institution of higher learning had to identify and establish a project team, appoint a project leader, assign responsibilities to members of the team with different expertise, analyse the needs of the institution, and define and agree on projects in order to access the grant,” said Rev. Jaftha.

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

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