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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

Kovsies play hockey across the country
2010-03-01

Pictured: Cherie Smith
Photo: Hannes Pieterse

The men’s and women’s hockey teams of the University of the Free State (UFS) recently played against some of the best university hockey teams in the country. The Kovsies (first team) and Reds (second team) played impressively against Tukkies, Pukke and the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) hockey teams.

“Unfortunately the Kovsie teams couldn’t beat Tukkies. The women lost 2-3 and then the men also lost 1-3,” says Frans van der Watt, assistant director and hockey coach at Kovsiesport.


After this, the UFS stood their ground against Pukke. Kovsies’ women’s team played to a draw with 2 each. The men’s team triumphed 2-1.

Next up was UJ and this time Kovsies really did us proud. Both the Kovsies and the Reds’ great games led to triumphs. The Reds won with an impressive score of 3-0 and the Kovsies won 2-0 against UJ’s best.

For the men’s team the challenge was a somewhat bigger. “The Reds played to a draw at 2-2 and the Kovsies lost 1-4 against an incredibly strong team of UJ,” says Van der Watt.

Kovsies’ men’s and women’s teams are currently ranked ninth and eighth on the list of the best university teams. The women’s teams in particular are making their mark with their victory over UJ and their impressive game against Pukke.
- Lize du Plessis

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