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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

UFS Doctors make History in South Africa
2011-07-14

 

New aortic valve

Three members of our Faculty of Health Sciences made history by being the first to implant a special new aortic valve in South Africa. 
 
In a combined effort, the Departments of Cardiology, Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery did the first Medtronic CoreValve implant in South Africa on a patient in Universitas Academic Hospital. 
 
With the support of hospital management and the Medtronic company, Prof. Hennie Theron, Prof. Stephen Brown and Dr JP Theron of the Faculty of Health Sciences, with the assistance of Dr Jean-Claude Laborde, performed the operation early on Wednesday morning, 06 July 2011.
 
The advantage of this new valve is that it can be implanted percutaneously through a catheter from the groin. This eliminates the need for invasive surgery.
 
The valve is made from porcine pericardium (tissue derived from pigs) and is mounted on an expandable stent, which is threaded along an artery, until it reaches its desired position. Prof. Theron says the valve is especially useful in older patients who suffer from aortic valve disease and pose a high surgical risk. Furthermore, the use of this valve greatly reduces hospitalisation time, in comparison to traditional surgery.
 
“One patient already received an implant this morning and we hope to finish 2 more today,” Prof. Brown said, emphasizing the swiftness and efficiency of the new valve implanting process.
 
“It is a complex procedure, but this service can in future be offered to all patients in the public and private sectors of the Free State. It is heartwarming that the academic complex can take the lead in this modern, high-tech therapy.”
 
For more information on the procedure, please contact Prof. Theron at 051 4053428.
 

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