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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

New research informs improved treatment of brain inflammation
2017-10-13

Description: Sebolai and Ogundeji Tags: Microbiologist, Dr Adepemi Ogundeji,  

Dr Adepemi Ogundeji, researcher in the Department of Microbial,
Biochemical and Food Biotechnology at the
University of the Free State,
and Dr Olihile Sebolai,
her study leader from the same department.
Photo: Charl Devenish



Microbiologist Dr Adepemi Ogundeji has uncovered a new use for an old medicine that can potentially save lives and money. Under the guidance of her study leader, Dr Olihile Sebolai, Dr Ogundeji set out to fight a fungal disease caused by Cryptococcus neoformans. Drs Ogundeji and Sebolai are from the University of the Free State Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology. 

Dr Ogundeji is passionate about education. “My aim will always be to transfer knowledge and skills in the microbiology field,” she said. “Dr Ogundeji’s study is celebrated in that it found a new purpose for existing medicines. An advantage of repositioning old medicines is by-passing clinical trials, which sometimes take 20 years, and the safety of such medicines is already known,” Dr Sebolai, explained.

Cryptococcus infections are difficult to control and often lead to brain inflammation. In layman’s terms: “Your brain is on fire”. People with HIV/Aids are especially vulnerable, surviving only about three months without treatment. Such patients may present with a Cryptococcus-emergent psychosis, and some with an out-of-control inflammatory condition when initiated on ARVs. 

Dr Ogundeji found that the clinically recommended dosage of aspirin (anti-inflammatory medicine), and quetiapine (anti-psychotic medicine) is sufficient to control the infection. Her exceptional work was readily published in some of the foremost journals in her field, namely, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy and Frontiers in Microbiology

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