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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

Roosmaryn and Veritas – 2013 Kovsie Sêr winners
2013-08-05

 

The two winning residences will represent the university at the national Sêr finals at the North-West University on 31 August 2013.
Photo: Johan Roux
05 August 2013

  Video clip (YouTube)
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Roosmaryn and Veritas will be the proud UFS representatives at the national Sêr competition, taking place at the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University on Saturday 31 August 2013.

These two residences emerged as the victors of the McDonald’s Bloemfontein Kovsie Kleinsêr competition on Saturday evening 3 Augusts. They will now proceed to compete for the national title against residence teams from the universities of Stellenbosch, Pretoria, Johannesburg and North-West.

Roosmaryn and Veritas had to battle it out against eleven other UFS residence teams before walking away with the coveted first prize. In the male division, Vishuis and Kagiso locked horns with Veritas in a titanic struggle to attained second and third place respectively. The two city residences, Sonnedou and Marjolein, achieved second and third position in the division for the ladies’ residences.

This year’s Kovsie Kleinsêr competition, which is a highlight on the Bloemfontein calendar, was characterised by fierce competition, top-class entertainment and loads of singing talent. Spectators could follow the action from three venues on the Bloemfontein Campus, with participants performing in the Scaena, Odeion and Kovsie Church.

The McDonald’s clown, Ronald McDonald, added boisterous fun to the proceedings in the Kovsie Church. The clown, the participants’ costumes and their vocal abilities were some of the hot topics discussed on the social network Twitter, where the competition ‘trended’ for some time.

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