23 February 2024 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo SUPPLIED
UFS prioritises peaceful protests
The UFS reinforces commitment to peaceful protest.

In a continuous commitment to ensuring the safety and rights of its students and staff, the University of the Free State (UFS) has reinforced its stance on peaceful protests. Upholding constitutional rights while maintaining order and safety is at the core of the institution's ethos.

The university's position is articulated in the UFS Protest Guidelines, underscoring its dedication to safeguarding the rights of both protesters and non-protesters across all campuses. The guidelines stress the importance of responsible protest, ensuring that the rights of others are not infringed upon during demonstrations.

The UFS Protest Guidelines booklet was established to provide clarity and guidance to all members of the university community. It outlines safety measures for non-protesting individuals, acceptable behaviour during protests, and procedures for managing demonstrations in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedures.

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Noko Masalesa, Senior Director in the Department of Protection Services, emphasised the importance of these guidelines: “It is imperative that all members of our community understand their rights and responsibilities when participating in or encountering protests on our campuses. By adhering to these guidelines, we can ensure the safety and well-being of everyone involved.”

The guidelines affirm the constitutional right to peaceful protests, as outlined in Section 17 of the Constitution. However, they stress that this right must be exercised responsibly and without impeding the rights of others. The university's commitment to social justice, diversity, and inclusivity is reiterated in Vision 130, a strategic plan to reposition the university by its 130th anniversary in 2034, which is centred around values such as excellence, innovation and impact, accountability, care, social justice, and sustainability. 

Acceptable and unacceptable behaviours

Acceptable behaviour during protests includes non-violent demonstrations, wearing organisation-affiliated attire, and engaging in open dialogue with university administration. Protesting individuals are encouraged to utilise designated meeting spaces and engage with relevant university departments to address grievances.

However, the guidelines also outline behaviours that are deemed unacceptable during protests. These include any form of violence, disruption of academic activities, damage to property, or acts of intimidation. Individuals are prohibited from obstructing access to university facilities, inciting hatred, carrying weapons, or wearing disguises to prevent identification.

“The University of the Free State remains steadfast in its commitment to upholding the rights of its community members, while maintaining a safe and conducive learning environment for all. Through adherence to these guidelines, the university aims to foster a culture of respect, dialogue, and peaceful engagement amid differing viewpoints,” added Zamikaya Dyonase, Deputy Director: Security Operations at the UFS.

Click here to read the UFS Protest Guidelines booklet.

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Emergency contact list

  • Bloemfontein Campus Protection Services 24/7 Duty Room: +27 51 401 2911 or +27 51 401 2634
  • South Campus Protection Services 24/7 Duty Room: +27 51 505 1217 
  • Qwaqwa Campus Protection Services 24/7 Duty Room: +27 58 718 5460 or +27 51 718 5175
  • Email

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