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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

Medical practitioners join forces to help students studying medicine with loans
2010-02-24

Medical practitioners from the University of the Free State’s Faculty of Health Sciences have established a loan fund for enrolled students studying medicine to assist them with their studies. This loan fund has paid out a total amount of R329 106,00 over the past three years.

During 2002 the faculty’s School of Medicine identified a gap in the awarding of bursaries to enrolled students studying medicine at the UFS.

Many students who follow the course M.B.Ch.B struggle to obtain bursaries and are often forced to cease their studies due to a lack of funds.

A group of medical practitioners addressed this gap by providing funds in the form of voluntary out-of-pocket contributions towards a study loan fund to deserving students. This fund has received over R1million in contributions over the years.

Although the loans do not cover the full costs of a particular student, it brings the necessary financial relief and enables the student to focus on his/her studies and at least register. It also gives the student the time at the beginning of the year to attain more money to study.

The loan is repayable as soon as the student is employed. Repayment is calculated on the income of the individual and is administrated by an outside organisation at a minimal interest rate that only kicks in when the loan becomes repayable.

The School of Medicine encourages students who qualify for this loan to seek alternative funding. In this way, more students can be supported annually.

Currently an average of eight to twelve students per year are helped from this loan fund.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication (actg)
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl@ufs.ac.za  
24 February 2010

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