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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

Global exercise initiative launched on Bloemfontein Campus
2012-03-14

 

Healthier and fitter Kovsies
Photo: Anja Aucamp
13 March 2012

Staff and students are getting ready to sweat this week with the launch of the worldwide Exercise is Medicine Programme on the Bloemfontein Campus on 14 and 15 March 2012.

The programme will be introduced for the first time in Africa and our university is the only African university that forms part of the launch.

Exercise is Medicine is an initiative which encourages health care providers to include exercise when designing treatment plans for patients. The programme designed by the American College of Sports Medicine and it has a presence in countries such as Australia, Italy, China and Brazil.

As part of the programme launch, staff and students will attend presentations by prominent health practitioners and participate in a range of fitness activities such as Taebo and Zumba. The Wellness Division of the Centre for Health and Wellness has more activities planned for the rest of the year to keep Kovsies healthy. This will include a cycling event and netball, volleyball and soccer games.

Dr Louis Holtzhausen, Head of the Division Sport and Exercise Medicine, says that it has been proved unequivocally that regular exercise is good for people's health.

"It is clear that regular exercise should not only be promoted by the medical profession, but that physical activity should be monitored and recorded by doctors as a major modifiable risk factor for morbidity and mortality."

Dr Holtzhausen says one of the goals of the Exercise is Medicine Programme is that physical activity becomes a vital sign to be recorded, with doctors routinely discussing it with their individual patients.

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