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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

Snow on our campuses
2012-08-07

Qwaqwa Campus
7 August 2012

Kovsies have been treated to the rather unusual sight of snow Tuesday, with the Qwaqwa Campus covered in a blanket of snow and the Bloemfontein Campus also dusted in white.

Snowflakes on the Bloemfontein Campus had people clicking away on their cameras and cellphones to capture this rare picture. The last time the City of Roses experienced this much snow was about six years ago.

Prof. Sue Walker, Head of Agricultural Meteorology in our Department of Soil, Crop & Climate Sciences, says the snowy weather over the Free State was caused by a cut-off low pressure system in association with a strong anticyclone ridging in behind the cold front.

“This draws a pool of very cold air, in the upper air, from the far southern ocean area in Antarctica driven by a strong southerly wind. This caused the freezing level, which is normally high in the atmosphere, to be lowered to the ground surface level, resulting in the snow.”

Prof. Walker says a little snow is forecast for Wednesday although rain can be expected before it clears and becomes sunny for the long weekend.
 

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