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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

World renowned cardiothoracic surgeons convene at UFS
2010-03-14

World-renowned cardiothoracic surgeons from around the world will be the guests of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of the Free State (UFS) when a workshop for cardiothoracic surgeons is presented at the UFS Faculty of Health from Monday, 15 March to Wednesday, 17 March 2010.

The workshop is presented by the European Association of Cardiothoracic Surgery (EACTS), which focuses on development and training in Africa.

Prof. Francis Smit, Head of the UFS Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery and also member of the international cooperation committee of EACTS, says EACTS have selected the UFS, and specifically Bloemfontein, to be the site for their African Training and Education outreach. “We are extremely honoured by this after working at it for more than four years.”

Seven world-renowned cardiothoracic surgeons, including three former presidents of EACTS, will present the training courses in Bloemfontein from 15-17 March 2010. These surgeons are from the United States of America, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Scotland.

The European Cardiovascular Technologists are sending a perfusionist as well to present a perfusion workshop on Wednesday, 17 March 2010. The last day will be devoted to advanced surgical techniques.

The programme consists of a two-day scientific course that addresses research issues. All the invited speakers are well-known and established researchers. They all have been editors/editorial staff members of major international journals.

Prof. Smit says, “The knowledge transfer to South African surgeons can be phenomenal. Young and established surgeons can also meet the experts and improve their skills in conducting and successfully publish results.”

More than a hundred participants are expected for the workshops of the first two days, of which forty from abroad. The last day would be open registration and more than 150 people are expected.

Prof. Smit says, “This is a wonderful opportunity for us to educate, stimulate and teach surgeons in South Africa. It will add to their knowledge base and introduce them to high quality research methodology that will certainly have an impact on our research output. Hopefully this will be a bi-annual event where we can teach our academic community at a very focused and high level supported by EACTS.”

Media release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
12 March 2010
 

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