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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

Future Leader’s Award 2017 goes to UFS Quantity Surveying student
2017-08-11

Description: Future Leader’s Award 2017 goes to UFS Quantity Surveying student Tags: Future Leader’s Award 2017 goes to UFS Quantity Surveying student 

Celebrating big achievements in the construction
sector at the recent Association of South African
Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS) conference are, from
the left: Cameron Ferreira, junior lecturer in the
UFS Department of Quantity Surveying,
Jhon Thatcher, former UFS student in the same
department who was the second runner-up for the
Gold Medal Award, Dr Stephan Ramabodu, President
of ASAQS, Gerné Bothma, former student in the
department and winner of the Future Leaders’
Award 2017, and Pierre Oosthuizen, UFS lecturer in
the same department.
Photos: Supplied


The Department of Quantity Surveying and Construction Management at the University of the Free State (UFS) made good on its promise to develop independent and critical-thinking graduates who will become leaders in their field. At the recent Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS) conference and gala dinner, two students from the department, Gerné Botma and Jhon Thatcher, received awards for their outstanding performance.

Best of the best
Botma received the ASAQS Future Leaders’ Award (2017), an award based on academic achievement in the first three years of study. He competed with nominees from universities across South Africa offering Quantity Surveying programmes, and was the winner in this category.

Thatcher was a second runner-up for the ASAQS Gold Medal Award (being in the top three Quantity Surveying students in South Africa). This is awarded on a number of criteria, including academic achievement. Fourth-year students from all the universities in South Africa offering Quantity Surveying programmes compete for this award, and must display achievement in categories such as academia, leadership, community engagement, and general interests.  In 2016, the Gold Medal Award was won by the UFS student, Kamogelo Leeuw.

Keeping abreast of developments
Today, organisations are relying on its members to stay ahead of issues, technologies, innovations and trends. In Quantity Surveying, to keep abreast of developments in the built environment, ASAQS was established as a voluntary association, with one of its goals being advancing and promoting the science and practice of Quantity Surveying.  ASAQS works in close collaboration with its member firms, tertiary institutions, and the South African Council for Quantity Surveying Professions (SACQSP), a statutory body that oversees and regulates the profession, and accredit Quantity Surveying programmes in South Africa.

Two staff members from the UFS Department of Quantity Surveying and Construction Management, Cameron Ferreira and Pierre Oosthuizen, attended the recent ASAQS annual conference. Ferreira, a junior lecturer in the department, is the current Chapter Chairperson of the Free State for ASAQS and Oosthuizen, a lecturer in the department, is the former Chapter Chairperson.

According to Ferreira, they attended the conference to keep abreast of the latest development within the industry. “The event also served as a great networking opportunity for the UFS to build partnerships with other industry pioneers,” she said. Making use of opportunities such as these is in line with the UFS’s pursuit of lifelong learning.

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