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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

Wayde claims gold and silver at IAAF World Championships in London
2017-08-11

 Description: Getty Wayde Tags: Wayde van Niekerk, IAAF World Championships, Michael Johnson, Prof Francis Petersen, 200 m/400 m double 

The Olympic champion, Wayde van Niekerk, continued
his superb form over the past few months when he
won a gold medal in the 400 m and a silver in the 200 m
at the IAAF World Championships in London.
Photo: Getty Images



This is just the beginning. These were the words of an emotional Wayde van Niekerk after he completed one of the best weeks in his young career at the IAAF World Championships.

The 25-year-old Kovsie star claimed a gold medal in the 400 m in London, England, on 8 August 2017, and added a silver in the 200 m on 10 August 2017.
 
Furthermore, he was only 0.02 seconds away (in the 200 m) from achieving a 200 m/400 m double – something which was last done in 1995 at a World Championship by Michael Johnson. Van Niekerk won the 400 m in London in 43.98 s, and two days later his 20.106 s was enough for a silver in the 200 m. Ramil Guliyev from Turkey was first in 20.09 s.

Role model for Kovsie community
Once again Van Niekerk’s achievements warmed the hearts back home at the University of the Free State (UFS). “This is an extremely proud moment not only for the country, but in particular for the University of the Free State. Wayde is a role model for the entire Kovsie community, and we have been following his achievements in the international arena with great excitement. We are elated by his performances. Congratulations also to Tannie Ans and his management team,” Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, said. 

So much more ahead, says star
“I really feel I worked hard for tonight and I gave it my all. And I think I have proven over and over again I deserve what I have achieved. It was a tough week for me,” Van Niekerk said in an interview with the BBC. “I am glad that I could come out again today and put on a good fight. I really believe this is just the beginning of so much more I can achieve.”

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