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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

Three more Kovsie staff members involved in Olympic Games
2012-05-30

 

Dr Derik Coetzee
Photo: Supplied
30 May 2012

The South African men’s hockey team will practice on our Bloemfontein Campus from 28 May to 8 June 2012, and the team count on the assistance of three Kovsies to prepare them for the Olympic Games taking place in London later this year.  

Dr Derik Coetzee, senior lecturer in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science and Head of our High Performance Centre, has been appointed conditioning coach of the team. He will be assisted by Colleen Jones and Riaan Schoeman, also from this department.

The UFS team and Mr Gregg Clark, the team’s coach, will work out a periodisation programme for the team, which will continue until the hockey finals at the Olympic Games. The programme includes the correct exercises, volume, intensity and number of exercise sessions per week.

This is not the first time that Dr Coetzee has assisted sports teams to prepare for important events. In 2007, he was the conditioning coach of the Springbok rugby team that won the World Cup in France. He was also the conditioning coach of the under-21 Springbok team in 2002 that won the Junior World Cup Tournament. 

Dr Coetzee says it is a challenge to ensure that the team performs well at the Olympic Games. “The joy on the faces of the coach and players when they qualified in Japan cannot be described because many people thought they would not qualify.”

With the addition of Dr Coetzee, Ms Jones and Mr Schoeman, a total of six staff members from the UFS will be involved with the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games. The other three are:

  • Dr Louis Holtzhausen, Head of the university’s Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine, has been selected as team doctor for the more than 300 athletes that will represent South Africa at this year’s Olympic Games (in London).
  • Ms Ebeth Grobbelaar, Assistant Director of the South African Testing Laboratory for Prohibited Substances at the UFS, was invited to be involved in the Drugs Control Centre in the unit against prohibited substances which will test sportsmen and -women during the games.
  • Ms Hetsie Veitch, Head of the Unit for Students with Disabilities, has been invited to be a member of the Classification Panel at the final USA Paralympic athletics trials.

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