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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

During 2011: Infrastructure at the UFS
2011-12-01

Video clips:

Health Sciences Building
Clinical Skills Centre
Economic Sciences and Lecture Hall Building
Teacher Education Building
Biotechnology Building


A publication in which the infrastructure developments at the UFS are portrayed, was published this year. This publication celebrates the enormous development projects undertaken.
 
Description: 2011 Infrastructure_part 1 Tags: 2011 Infrastructure_part 1  Description: 2011 Infrastructure_part 2 Tags: 2011 Infrastructure_part 2  Description: 2011 Infrastructure_part 3 Tags: 2011 Infrastructure_part 3 
Constructive change (part 1) Constructive change (part 2) Constructive change (part 3)

Much has been done this past year to improve the infrastructure of our Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses with several buildings being built, some renovated and improvements made. Attention was specifically given to the growing need for lecture hall facilities and office space.

Some of the developments on our Bloemfontein Campus include: a brand-new entrance in Nelson Mandela Drive; a Memorial for Women and a Botanical Garden; a building for teacher education opposite the UFS Sasol Library; a building for our Faculty of Health Sciences opposite the Francois Retief Building; a Clinical Skills Centre for Allied Health Professions (the first in the country); and a building for our Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences between the Flippie Groenewoud Building and Wynand Mouton Theatre.

On our Qwaqwa Campus a building for teacher education is being constructed and some of the laboratories were refurbished and upgraded. More student accommodation is also well underway. A village development of four housing units that will accommodate 1000 students will be constructed on our Bloemfontein Campus.
Renovations and extensions were also made to some of the existing buildings such as the Architecture Building, the Biotechnology Building, the Department of Chemistry, the Stef Coetzee Building, the foyer of the Odeion, the Wynand Mouton Theatre and the Callie Human Centre. A staff restaurant has also been established on the Bloemfontein Campus and the building of ‘Little Professors’, a nursery school, is well underway.
“A building not only signals value to the outside; it also builds value on the inside. That is why it is important to notice how space has been organised and allocated to enhance the building of a community and to give academics, students and communities a sense of belonging to the university,” says Prof. Jonathan Jansen, our Vice-Chancellor and Rector.

The funding for most of the projects was made possible with an infrastructural grant from the Department of Education and Training.
 

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