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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

UFS appoints Director: KovsieRugby
2012-10-16

Michael Horak.
Photo: Johan Roux
16 October 2012

Mr Michael Horak has been appointed for a three year term by the UFS as Director: KovsieRugby. He began working at the university on 1 October 2012.

Mr Horak’s involvement in and experience of Super Rugby coaching, his working relationship with the Free State Rugby Union, his understanding of coaching structures and systems, as well as his knowledge of Kovsie players and present structures made him the obvious choice. He is also well positioned to see to it that the Shimlas are prepared for the next Varsity Cup tournament, which begins in February 2013.

His career includes the position of General Manager of the Cheetahs and Rugby Affairs at the Free State Rugby Union, a defence coach in Super Rugby, as well as senior Currie Cup teams and a rugby consultant for Grey College and Windhoek Gymnasium.

Some of his responsibilities as Director of KovsieRugby include the coaching of the Shimlas (head coach); the planning, development, management and implementation of a coordinated coaching and rugby programme throughout all sections of the UFS Rugby club; the development and implementation of innovative coaching techniques and methods in regards to players; as well as the development and implementation of a medium and long term strategy for the recruitment and retention of players that will be approved by the university to make success possible.

On his vision for rugby at the UFS, Mr Horak says: “It is a great privilege for me to be involved with KovsieRugby. Good work was done by Mr Jaco Swanepoel that I would like to take further to give players the best chance to be successful. Winning is what it is about and I am really looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead for all of us. My coaching team of Quintin Kruger, Hendro Scholtz and Barry Goodes is incredibly motivated to serve Shimlas rugby and to achieve success. We hope that everybody will support us and we are looking forward to seeing everybody at Shimla Park when the Shimlas win!”

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