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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

Kovsies help SA Badminton win gold at 2013 AFCON
2013-08-27

 

Elmé de Villiers, Andries Malan, Wiaan Viljoen and Sandra le Grange.
Photo: Supplied
27 August 2013

A former Kovsie and the current captain of the South African Badminton team, Olympian Wiaan Viljoen, won two gold medals at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Individual events that concluded in Mauritius on 20 August 2013.

South Africa proved their dominance in the 2013 Continental Championships by winning three gold, two silver and three bronze medals in the Individual events. Combined with the gold medal for the team, South Africa won four out of the six gold medals up for contention, with the other two going to Mauritius in the ladies’ singles and to Seychelles in the ladies’ doubles respectively.

Kovsies’ Elmé de Villiers and Sandra le Grange also carried the ladies’ side of the South African team through every match of the AFCON and De Villiers won the deciding match in the final against Nigeria. De Villiers has been included in the 2016 Road to RIO BWF Project of Excellence. Both De Villiers and Le Grange are players to watch closely en route to the 2016 Olympic Games.

De Villiers and Le Grange also won the doubles title at the Mauritius International, which was held in the week after the AFCON. This was the first international title for both De Villiers and Le Grange.

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