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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

Excellent facilities, pleasant weather and hospitality attract international teams
2012-03-14

 

Germany and South Africa played friendly practice matches at the UFS during their training camps.
Photo: Johan Roux
14 March 2012

Three international hockey teams have used the practice facilities of the university since the beginning of the year to prepare for the Olympic Games in August this year. The German and South African hockey teams have practiced here on four previous occasions.

Due to the cold weather in Europe, Austria also held its hockey training camp at the university this year. In addition, four of Austria’s triathlon athletes used the cross country track and swimming pool on the Bloemfontein Campus to prepare for the Olympic Games.

Germany’s national hockey team practised at the university from 3 to 12 March 2012. South Africa made use of the facilities from 5 to 10 March and Austria’s national team has been practicing in Bloemfontein since 24 February. From 3 to 10 March, a club team from Austria also made use of the university’s facilities, including the astros, the swimming pool, the athletics track and the Biokinetics Centre. SV Arminem also played two matches against the men’s hockey team from Kovsies. The first match end 2-2. With the second match Kovsies won 4-1.

Other international hockey teams who have made use of the astros over the past six years include Russia, Argentina, Belgium, China, Azerbaidjan and the Netherlands.

Staff ensured that everything ran like clockwork during the different training camps. Ms Annemarie Ludick and Mr Frans van der Watt, under the guidance of Mr Mickey Gordon, Head: Institutional Promotion, Fundraising, Marketing and Sport, were responsible for the logistical arrangements and finances. Mr Johan Gerber saw to the maintenance of the astros. The university boasts some of the best equipped astros in the world. “Germany, for example, did not bring along any exercise balls, cones, or beds (for use by physiotherapists) because the astros are fully equipped,” said Ms Ludick.

The fact that international teams such as Germany (ranked second in the world), South Africa and Austria made use of the university’s facilities is significant. “The university’s first team got for example the opportunity to play practice games against these players. The training camps also contributed to the economy of Bloemfontein,” said Ms Ludick.

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