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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

Outstanding alumni celebrated at the Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumni Awards
2017-08-28

 Description: Outstanding alumni celebrated at the Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumni Awards  Tags: Outstanding alumni celebrated at the Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumni Awards

From the left: Former Miss World and UFS Medical student, Rolene Strauss; Rector and Vice-Chancellor,
Prof Francis Petersen; The Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year,
Vian Chinner; and Chancellor of the UFS, Dr Khotso Mokhele. Photo: Charl Devenish

 

Alumni Awards Photo Gallery 

Alumni are the heart and soul of a university, a legacy that lives on for generations, bringing pride to the alma mater. Each year, the University of the Free State (UFS) through the Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumni Awards, celebrates its outstanding alumni, who have stood out among their peers, making waves in their careers, at home and abroad. The UFS Chancellor, Dr Khotso Mokhele, said the university plays a pivotal role in ensuring that students enjoy a life-long relationship with their alma mater.  He encouraged the UFS management to create opportunities to engage students during their years of study, in order to create this mutually-beneficial relationship into the future.

The Chancellor’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award, the highest honour accorded to an alumnus, recognises the distinguished national or international achievements of its recipient. The award was presented to Vian Chinner, chief executive officer at Xineoh, a performance marketing company he founded in 2014. The company, based in Bloemfontein, with offices in Cape Town, Oregon in the US, and Vancouver in Canada, specialises in applying mathematical modelling and machine learning to optimise conversion in industries including real estate, mortgage banking and e-commerce. It has generated more than $30 million in revenue for its clients.

The Young Alumnus of the Year Award acknowledges the achievements of alumni who graduated within the past decade and was presented to Leah Molatseli, founder and managing director of Lenoma Legal, who graduated with an LLB at UFS in 2010.

The Cum Laude Award is bestowed upon an alumnus in recognition of excellence in any field, whether vocational or voluntary. The awards in this category were presented to three alumni:

David Abbey, Acquisition and Leveraged Finance Deal Maker at Rand Merchant Bank. David graduated with a BCom Accounting (RU) 2007 and a BCom Hons Accounting (UFS) in 2008.

Johan Eksteen, Agricon Pelleting, graduated with an MSc in Sustainable Agriculture in 1998, and received an MBA in 2005, both at the UFS.

Zola Valashiya, Co-founder and director: Debate Afrika and Schools Projects and Campaigns Manager at Corruption Watch. He graduated with an LLB (UFS) in 2014, and Masters of Public Administration (Central European University, Hungary) in 2016. He is a Mandela Rhodes Scholar (2015) and a Young African Leadership Initiative Mandela Washington Fellow (2017) and is presently featured on the Mail & Guardian list of top 200 young South Africans.

The Executive Management Award:
this service award is presented to an individual who has delivered exceptional service to the UFS and is not limited to alumni of the institution, current students and the community at large. The award was presented to Sarina Cronje, Head of Athletics at KovsieSport.

She graduated with a Bachelor of Science (UFS) in 1977 and a Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education (UFS) in 1983. She is a mother and career woman, whose family carries the same passion and drive for sports that champions are made of.

The Kovsie Ambassador Award is bestowed upon a current student whose achievements have brought him/her distinction, benefited his/her community, and brought credit to the UFS.

Crystal-Donna Roberts graduated with a BA Drama and Theatre Arts (UFS) in 2005. She is an active television, theatre and film actress who has appeared in a multitude of theatre productions in addition to starring in Afrikaans soap opera “7de Laan, Getroud Met Rugby, Montana” and “Vallei van Sluiers” in which she won public favour. She is currently playing the lead role in the internationally acclaimed film, “Krotoa” which has won numerous awards including Best Film at the Harlem International Film Festival in New York. It also won the Award of Excellence at the International Film Festival for Women: Social Issues and Zero Discrimination, and many more.

Franco Smith, Director: Free State Rugby and Assistant Coach: Springboks. He graduated with a BA Human Movement Sciences (UFS) in 1996 and began his career in rugby in 1999 when he was selected for the Free State Under-18 Craven Week team. He became a regular on the Free State Under-20 and the UFS Shimlas teams prior to his Free State Cheetahs debut in 1992. Franco was reappointed backline coach of the Cheetahs and head coach of the Shimlas in 2015. With many accolades to his name an illustrious career in coaching and management over the years, the name Franco Smith should not be foreign to true rugby connoisseurs.

The Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, congratulated all the award recipients: “I applaud all alumni; you have made the city of Bloemfontein and the whole province proud.” The National Executive Alumni Chairperson, Dr Pieter du Toit, congratulated the award recipients and thanked the leadership of the university as well as the event organisers. 

The awards signify the great esteem with which the UFS holds its alumni and the community that helps to drive its vision, cherish its history and pave the way for more outstanding Kovsies of the future.

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