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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

Elzmarie honoured internationally for economics education
2012-10-13

Elzmarie Oosthuizen (middle) with Prof. John Brock of Colorado University in Colorado Springs and Prof. Claudia Parliament of Minnesota University.
12 October 2012

An exceptional honour has been bestowed on Elzmarie Oosthuizen of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences with the awarding of the Patricia K. Elder International Award to her in America at the beginning of October 2012.

The award is made by the National Association of Economics Educators and the Council for Economics Education (CEE). It gives recognition to individuals whose outstanding and committed service makes a meaningful impact on the delivery of economics education worldwide. The award was made to her at the 51th annual Financial Literacy and Economics Education Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.

Elzmarie is Manager: Teaching and Learning in the Faculty. She was originally appointed to manage various projects to better prepare students for what is expected of them.  She teaches in the extended programme and achieved success with bridging mathematics and the changing methodologies that she uses.

She plays an active role in international economics education programming. Elzmarie was an essential element in the development of CEE’s programmes in South Africa and has now moved to expand economics education programmes to Namibia, Lesotho and Botswana. 

She successfully participated in the CEE’s Train the Writers programme and lobbied the CEE to provide a mentoring programme that would prepare participants to offer a training of writers programme within their own country. This year, she presented the first writers programme for South African teachers.

Claudia Parliament, Director of the Minnesota Council on Economics Education, said in her recommendation for the award:  “Elzmarie is a change agent.  She has boundless energy.  Few can keep up with her work pace.  She has put economics education on the map in South Africa and she is poised to have a similar impact in other countries in southern Africa.”

Elzmarie says: “I feel very honoured to have received this award.” Since 2004, she has worked very hard and trained some 800 teachers. In 2011, some 200 000 children were reached through the training.

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