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02 May 2018 Photo Charl Devenish
South Campus UAP celebrates 27 years of access to education
Mr Francois Marais, Prof Kalie Strydom, Prof Daniella Coetzee (South Campus Principal), Prof Francis Petersen, Dr Nthabeleng Rammile (Vice-Chairperson of the UFS Council), and Dr Khotso Mokhele (Chancellor of the UFS).

More than 27 years ago, international funding from the Human Sciences Research Council and Anglo American was put to an unusual use for that time. Prof Kalie Strydom’s research unit at the University of the Free State (UFS) was tasked with reviewing how institutional missions would change in the new South Africa. Prof Strydom worked closely with surrounding communities in Bloemfontein to develop a bridging course which would help students who showed potential to access tertiary education, although they did not meet the requirements. His vision brought to birth the University Access Programme (UAP), as it is known today, which is hosted on the UFS South Campus, and is still providing unique access to higher-education institutions in South Africa.

People with a passion for human development
March 2018 saw the 27th anniversary of this remarkable initiative, which has given a second chance to over 18 000 students. Special guests at the event included Prof Strydom, Mr Francois Marais, and representatives from the Department of Higher Education and Training and Investec’s corporate social investment office.

Dr Sonja Loots, researcher in the UFS Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL), singled out two key individuals in the formation of the UAP: Prof Kalie Strydom, who initiated the programme, and Mr Marais, who has been Director of the UAP since its inception. Dr Loots highlighted one of the driving forces behind Prof Strydom’s perseverance, vision, and determination with the UAP by quoting from an interview with him for an upcoming book on student access and success. He said, “It was a decision based on principle … to be part of the solution to a better country.”

Access and success still an issue today
In his presentation on the “Importance of Access”, Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, pointed out the vital role of access in South Africa, especially the value it offers for the betterment of the country’s people. However, he said that student success is also an issue, and institutions need to be accountable for it. Quoting Prof John Martin of the University of Cape Town’s Faculty of Engineering, “We must be flexible on access, but robust on success.” Only by “closing the loop” in this way, can the UFS and other higher-education institutions ensure a valuable contribution to the economy of the country.

News Archive

Inaugural lecture explores the compatibility of commercial certainty and constitutionalism
2015-10-15

From the left: Prof Caroline Nicholson,
Prof Elizabeth Snyman van Deventer,
Justice Malcolm Wallis and Dr Lis Lange.

Justice Malcolm Wallis presented his inaugural lecture, entitled “Compatibility of commercial certainty and constitutionalism”, to the Faculty of Law on 17 September, 2015. The occasion was attended by faculty staff, students, and senior members of the Bloemfontein judiciary.

In her welcoming remarks, Prof Caroline Nicholson, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the UFS,  expressed the immense pride the faculty has in hosting such an occasion, and the remarkable work of Justice Wallis in the South African legal fraternity over his forty-year career.

Justice Wallis spoke of the constitution’s important role in ensuring that the law in commercial matters is enforced fairly without the prejudice or undue influence from the desire to obtain or preserve personal advantage. “Try, if you can, to conceive of a society in which commercial relationships are enforced and enforceable purely as a matter of discretion. Ask yourselves:  how would such a society function?” he said.

He reiterated that the role and the rule of law is to guide and protect parties in commercial transactions. It has considerable impact on society in how it is enforced. “Commercial disputes may seem to involve only the parties to the proceedings, but when they involve significant changes to established commercial law, their impact is inevitably wider. Such changes affect other agreements, other relationships, underlying financing transactions, and, in our modern world, contracts of insurance and reinsurance. The latter at least will always have an international dimension,” he said.

He explored specific judgements and the role the concept of “Ubuntu” played in delivering them, the fair enforcement of commercial law, and how this should be an integral part of South African law under the constitution.

 In closing, Justice Wallis stated that “in principle, the existence of a constitution and constitutional rights need not destabilise commercial law, or the reasonable expectations of business people.”

Justice Wallis has received numerous accolades locally and internationally during his long career, including his appointment as a Professor Extraordinary in the Department of Mercantile Law at the University of the Free State in 2014.



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