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Change the world

05/09/2019

Nelson Mandela University places the utmost importance on the safety and security of its students, staff and visitors.  The University is of the belief that its core functions of teaching, learning, research and engagement, as well as support activities should be carried out in a safe and secure environment.

Safety and Security

Safety and security remains a major challenge in South Africa and the University is not immune to breaches in its safety and security environment and incidents of crime playing out in and around its premises.

Reported incidents of criminal activity within, and particularly around campuses, have once again highlighted challenges in the University’s existing suite of security measures. The University takes these challenges seriously and work continues to effectively address these.

The University has been, and continues to, implement its integrated safety and security strategy, which is anchored on the effective use of technology, enhanced and secure infrastructure, engagement and partnership with internal and external stakeholders, upskilling and capacitating Protection Services staff.

A particular challenge facing the University community at present is the vulnerability of staff and students on and off campus where they can be exposed to criminal elements and security breaches.

Partnership approach

Such challenges have necessitated a consolidated approach to safety and security. As such collaborations with communities and crime prevention forums around the Nelson Mandela Metro towards a city-wide intervention to effectively deal with the scourge of crime are underway.

Partnerships have been formed with the Summerstrand Community Crime Forum, the Missionvale Community Forum, Special Rates Area around Central and the Bird Street Campus, Safety and Security Member of the Mayoral Committee and the Nelson Mandela Bay Chamber. Plans are being implemented to consolidate these efforts towards ensuring safety in the broader community and the city.

The University has also agreed to re-instate its Safety and Security Task Team, comprising of representatives from Management and student leadership, to ensure ongoing efforts towards creating a safer work and study environment for staff and students.

Urgent issues

Among the issues to be addressed are:

  • Transport safety issues
  • Finding alternative solutions to after-hour tests, and
  • Solutions to the present additional security measures

Furthermore, the University will continue with implementation of the safety and security strategy, inclusive of the technology intervention, the training and development of staff and its engagement with stakeholders, both internally and externally.      

              VC support

The Vice-Chancellor Professor Sibongile Muthwa has issued a statement in solidarity with the national movement against Gender Based Violent (GBV), xenophobia and all forms of violent crime.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IH2C_gsoMOs

Wi-Fi Connectivity

Given the philosophy of working anywhere and at any time, the introduction of increased access to Wi-Fi can also serve to counteract crime.  The connectivity project is aimed at linking the largest off-campus residences (those with 20 students or more) to the high capacity broadband offered by the University.   

The partnership with the Metro provides 11 library internet connections to students and staff. The installation of networking equipment at the Metro’s Noninzi Luzipho (formerly Pleinhuis), Algoa House and Lillian Diedericks (formerly Brister House) has been completed and all wireless installations to these sites are now connected to the University.

About 5 000 students from 36 accredited off-campus residences will soon benefit from the “switch-over” connectivity project.

Student accommodation

South African universities are still grappling with a massive challenge of inadequate student accommodation on its campuses.

In the last two years, the University has received government grants of about R150-million, which would have built only 80 beds a year. The University then decided to combine the grants over two years and raised an additional R300 million from the market to enable the building of the 2000-bed residences – 1800 in Port Elizabeth and the rest in George.

George Campus

Work towards the construction of 198-bed on-campus residence has begun at George Campus and is due for completion at the end of April 2020.

Port Elizabeth

There has been a delay in the start of construction at the Port Elizabeth campuses as result of the tender processed being challenged legally. This process is set to be concluded soon, and the hope is for the contractor who meets the approval criteria to be on site by the end of September with the following completion dates:

  • Phase 1 – 500 beds at Sanlam Student Village on North Campus due for completion in May 2021
  • Phase 2 – 300 beds at Sanlam Student Village on North Campus due for completion in Dec 2021
  • Phase 3 – 1 000 beds on another section of North Campus due for completion in July 2022

Accredited off-campus accommodation

For 2019, the University increased the number of accredited off-campus beds to 9 000, up from about       6 000 last year. Plans are in place to increase off-campus beds to a total of about 12 000 next year.

Integration of Off-Campus Housing Office (OCHO) into Student Housing

Student Housing has committed to integrate the Off-Campus Housing Office into the main organogram structure as part of the Organisational Redesign process that is underway.

Conclusion

The University remains committed to the safekeeping of all its students, both on and off campus, and is consistently working to this end. It also acknowledges that while much has been achieved, much work still lies ahead in seeking sustainable safety solutions both on campus and where our students are living across the Metro. We also acknowledge that personal safety is a national challenge, as evidenced by the recent spate of senseless and brutal crimes.

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777
Zandile.Mbabela@mandela.ac.za