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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

Prof Frederick Fourie to step down: Statement by the Acting Rector, Prof Teuns Verschoor
2008-09-08

Following the announcement by Prof Frederick Fourie that he is stepping down as vice-chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS), one cannot help but reflect on the momentous contribution he has made to the development of the UFS.

At the time of his appointment as vice-rector in 1999, the UFS was in a financial crisis. There had been three rounds of staff reductions, there were no funds for equipment or the maintenance of buildings and there was a general mood of despair amongst staff.

With his unique style and talents, and against all odds, as acting rector and as rector from 2003, Prof Fourie succeeded in bringing about a financial turnaround that once again brought hope to the staff of the UFS.

Research improved dramatically, inter alia due to the refurbishment of laboratories and the acquisition of world-class research equipment. General campus infrastructure was significantly upgraded and aesthetically improved, making the physical appearance and quality of the campus and example to other universities.

The university structure was critically analysed in all its dimensions and quality assurance projects were launched to improve the overall package of higher education offerings at the UFS.

Another initiative led to the compilation of a transformation plan that was adopted by the management and the UFS Council and that lays the basis for the years ahead.

Through these and countless other initiatives, Prof Fourie has contributed significantly to the establishment of the UFS as a nationally and internationally recognised higher education institution.

Prof Fourie has laid the foundations for the next period of academic growth and development, the value of which will only be appreciated in its full significance in historical perspective.

The UFS is saddened that the high intensity of change management processes has taken its toll on the rector, but is deeply thankful for the legacy that he leaves.

We wish Prof Fourie many productive years ahead and have faith that his remarkable intellect and capabilities will enable him to make many more contributions to the betterment of South African society.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za  
8 September 2008
 

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