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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

Five times unbeaten
2011-12-14

 
The UFS tennis team won the goldprize at this year's USSA-tournament.

For the fifth time in a row, the tennis team of the University of the Free State (UFS) won gold at the tennis championships of the University Sports South Africa (USSA) tournament. The tournament was held from Monday 5 December 2011 till Friday 9 December 2011 at the University of Stellenbosch, where 21 teams from 18 tertiary academic institutions participated.

After the USSA tournament, four Kovsie players were included in a training group to take part in training camps, tournaments and trials in preparation of the Confederation of University and College Sport Association (CUCSA) Games to be held in Namibia in 2012. These four students, namely Duke Monro, Christi Potgieter, Elizna Barnard and Este Portgieter, were also selected for the training group to the World Student Games (Universiade) in Russia in 2013.

In 2010, six of the players from the UFS were included in the South African team to the CUCSA Games in Botswana. This year the UFS produced three players to the Universiade in China.

The coach and team manager of the Kovsie team, Marnus Kleinhans and Janine de Kock, were also appointed coach and manager of the South African Student team to the CUCSA and World Student Games for the next two years.

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