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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

Curtains fall on Darwin lecture series
2010-02-03

The University of the Free State (UFS), in collaboration with the Central University of Technology and the National Museum in Bloemfontein, will host the final lecture of the Charles Darwin lecture series entitled "The story of life and survival" as part of the 200-years celebration of Charles Darwin’s birthday on Thursday, 11 February 2010.

The lecture titled Trends in evolution and their bearing on the future of humankind will be presented by Prof. Bruce Rubidge and Prof. Terence McCarthy from the University of the Witwatersrand and co-authors of the book The Story of Earth and Life.

Last year, when the year-long lecture series started, several lectures were presented by academics from various departments at the UFS.
Prof. Marian Tredoux and Mr Johan Loock from the Department of Geology presented lectures on The origin of our solar system and The geological evolution of our planet: the first billion years, respectively.

"Transitions and extinctions" was the topic of another lecture presented by Dr Jennifer Botha-Brink, a paleontologist at the National Museum and affiliated to the Department of Zoology and Entomology at the UFS. She discussed the causes of mass extinctions and their effects on the world's organisms.

The Department of Genetics also made their contribution to this lecture series in the form of two lectures on the genetic foundation of evolution presented by the Head of the Department, Prof. Johan Spies and Prof. Paul Grobler, an Associate Professor in the Department.

Next followed lectures on the evolution of the information and communication technology that were presented by the Departments of Communication Science, Chemistry, Physics, and Computer Science and Informatics, which focused on communication in a manufacturing environment, the knowledge explosion and the broadband universe.

This final lecture of the series will be presented in the CR Swart Auditorium on the UFS Main Campus at 18:00. Limited seats are available and bookings can be made by contacting Ms Isabel Human at humanci@ufs.ac.za or 051 401 2427 before or on Monday, 8 February 2010.

Media Release:
Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
2 February 2010

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