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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

Students excel at National Championships for the Physically Disabled
2013-04-07

 

South African record-holder Danie Breitenbach (left) running with his guide at the 2013 Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled.
Photo: Hetsie Veitch
10 April 2013

Six gold, one silver and two bronze medals. That is the number of medals students of the University of the Free State won at the 2013 Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled, held in Pretoria. 

Louzanne Coetzee, Danie Breitenbach, Juanré Jenkinson and Diederich Kleynhans held the Kovsie flag high, winning medals in track and field events. Louzanne and Danie, both visually-impaired students, each won three gold medals, with Danie setting two new South African track records. Danie, who took part in the T11/F11 sports class for visually-impaired, totally blind athletes, set records in the 800 and 1 500 metre track events. This first-year BA student, who runs with a guide and has to wear a blindfold when running, also won a gold medal in the 400-metre track event. 
 
Louzanne also took part in the T11/F11 sports class and won gold medals in the 800-, 1 500- and 5 000-metre events. With her winning time of 2 minutes and 53,8 seconds in the 800 metres, Louzanne, a second-year BA Corporate and Marketing Communication student, reached the qualifying standard for international participation. She may be considered for a national team that will compete internationally. 
 
Diederich and Juanré took part in the F37 and F38 sports class for physically-impaired athletes and won medals in the field events. Juanré, a fourth-year Education student, and Diederich, a master’s degree Theology student, won bronze and silver medals in shotput. Diederich also won a bronze medal in discus. 
 
Also taking part in the national championships, were Sidwell Monyane, a final-year B Public Management (Human Resource Management) student. Sidwell was part of the Free State Boccia team. Boccia is a target-ball sport for athletes with disabilities, which has a major impact on motor skills.

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