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29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

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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