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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

Number of NRF-rated researchers increases in 2012
2012-10-29

29 October 2012

Three researchers at the University of the Free State received B-ratings for 2013 from the National Research Foundation (NRF). Prof. Johan Henning, Dean of Law, obtained the highest rating in his field of mercantile law in South Africa, a B1.

Prof. Jackie Naudé from Classical and Near Eastern Studies and Prof. Dingie Janse van Rensburg, Professor Extraordinary at the Centre for Health Systems Research and Development, also obtained B3-ratings. Prof. Naudé is the first B-rated researcher in the Faculty of Humanities.
Prof. Helene Strauss obtained the highest rating (Y1) for a UFS young scholar in the Humanities.
In total, the NRF rated researchers at the UFS grew from 95 in 2011 to 109 in 2012, a growth of almost 15 percent.
The NRF ratings committee consist of three reviewers from South Africa and three from abroad. A rating is valid for six years and researchers must reapply for rating before the end of that period.
For a B1-rating all reviewers must be firmly convinced that the applicant enjoys considerable international recognition for the high quality of the researcher’s recent output, with some indicating that the researcher is a leading international scholar in a field. For a B3-rating most of the reviewers must be convinced that the researcher enjoys international recognition for the high quality and impact of the research.
Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, said in the UFS Research Report “The UFS now has among the highest number of NRF-rated scientists per size of the academic faculty and we have seen the productivity graph bear witness to a record growth in our funded research outputs; we have won our first-ever NRF/DST Research Chairs. In each of these achievements, the excellence we seek comes with and through the diversity we celebrate.”
More ratings and renewals were expected by the time of Bult went to print.. More than 35 researchers applied for ratings or renewal of ratings.
  • Colleagues who were admitted to the prestigious Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) are Profs. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Driekie Hay, Heidi Hudson, Lodewyk Kock, Odireleng Ntwaeaborwa, Hugh Patterton, Ian Phimister and Melanie Walker. ASSAf was established in 1996 with the mission of using science for the benefit of society. New members are elected after nomination by four existing members (at least two of whom do so from personal knowledge of the candidate). ASSAf has some 350 members and represents South Africa in the international community of science academies.
  • Dr Marieka Gryzenhout of Plant Sciences became a member of South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS). SAYAS celebrated its first year in 2012. It was launched as a means to enable South Africa’s young scientists to fully participate in locally and internationally relevant research and development agendas. Prof. Aldo Stroebel, Director: Internationalisation, is also a member of SAYAS.

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