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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

Agricultural students win rugby league
2008-09-26

 
With the inter-hostel rugby league something of the past, the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Science at the University of the Free State (UFS) can boast with yet another achievement. Not only is it the only faculty with a rugby team competing in the league, but to crown it all the Agriculture team walked away as the winners of the third league.

The final was played on Friday, 12 September. Agriculture beat House Armentum’s third team with 18-14. In the semi finals of the previous week, Agriculture beat the third team of Reitz with 14-13. Starting next year, the Agriculture team will compete in the second league.
Prof. Herman van Schalkwyk, Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, is of the opinion that this is a good development that will open the doors for faculty houses which will bring about bigger student involvement on all levels.

Back, from the left are: Flippie Cloete, Koti du Plooy, Hugo van Wyk, Gert Lampbrecht, Tjaart van Tonder (captain), Werner Blom, Jean van Deventer, Ernst Bezuidenhoudt (vice-captain), Hendrik Heyns, Dirkie Strydom, Tommie Scholtz and Wollie Wolhuter. Front, from the left are: Theuns Theunissen, Johan Meyer, Hermie Louw, AA Swanepoel, Neels Wilken, Basie Heckroodt, Pieter Craig, Nelius Burger, Louis van Deventer, Hendrik Fourie and Graham O’Helly.

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