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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 takes a leading role in nuclear medicine and technology
2011-12-06

 
Photo: Dr Glen Taylor

The University of the Free State (UFS) continues to play an active role in the field of Nuclear Medicine and the use of nuclear technology in the biosciences. Dr Glen Taylor, Director of Research Commercialisation and Business Development at the UFS, was recently elected chairperson of the board for the Nuclear Technologies in Medicine and the Biosciences Initiative (NTeMBI).

The UFS is currently one of three centres of excellence in the country identified by the Nuclear Energy Corporation South African (Necsa) to roll out the capacity development programme and increase technology coming from nuclear medicine and technology.
NTeMBI is a national technology platform that is managed by Necsa and supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). It functions as a high-level Research, Development and Innovation (RD&I) initiative that will implement new strategic initiatives relating to research and development on nuclear technologies in medicine and the biosciences on a local, regional and international level. 
 
One of the roles Dr Taylor will perform as Chairperson of the board of NTeMBI, is to enhance the exposure of nuclear technology in medicine and the biosciences. Dr Taylor says the aim is to increase the skills base in South Africa. “I realise it is one of the scare skills in the country.” 
 
The UFS already received a significant amount of funding from the grant of R4 million per annum made available from the Department of Science and Technology (DST) to implement NTeMBI projects.  

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