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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

Report card outlines major achievements
2005-02-04

Staff at the University of the Free State (UFS) have received above-inflation increases in remuneration averaging 18,2 percent since the year 2000, according to the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Frederick Fourie.

Delivering a keynote speech at the Official Opening of the UFS today, Prof Fourie gave a report card for the UFS which he said indicated significant progress in salaries and promotions as well as capital expenditure and infrastructure development on the campus.

“The aggregate extra earnings of staff (money in their pockets above inflation) from 2000 to 2005 amount to R75 million in salaries. This is the result of the hard work of all staff and we pay tribute to them,” he said.

Prof Fourie said that several categories of staff are better off than before the financial turn-around strategy was implemented in 2000 which aimed to make the UFS a financially sustainable campus.

The lowest paid workers and professors had received an additional structural correction, which gave professors at the UFS a 27% above-inflation increase (on total remuneration package) since 2000.

He said there had also been a dramatic increase in promotions to associate professor and full professor during the last 6 years.

From 1999 to December 2001, there were only 9 promotions to associate professor. From January 2002 to January 2005, there were 37 such promotions to associate professor, four times as many.

Regarding promotions to full professor, from 1999 to December 2001 there were 7 promotions. From January 2002 to January 2005, there were 31 promotions to full professor, more than four times as many.

“We have also created a new category of senior professor to give due recognition to the outstanding work of our leading academics in many fields,” Prof Fourie said.

The UFS has introduced numerous new and innovative learning programmes, together with an increasing number of community service modules which enhanced the UFS as a leader in service learning and helped to make it a university engaged with its surrounding community.

According to Prof Fourie the number of support staff had also grown along with the professionalisation of the support services.

He said management was aware that there still several challenges regarding staff overload and staff development but that these were being addressed

Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: (051) 401-2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za

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