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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

University is proud of its women in science
2013-08-17

 

Dr Marieka Gryzenhout
Photo: Sonia Small
19 August 2013

Two lecturers in the Department of Plant Sciences received national recognition for their research at the Women in Science Award 2013 function of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) on Friday 16 August 2013. Dr Marieka Gryzenhout received the award as Young Women Scientist and Prof Maryke Labuschagne was first runner-up in the category Distinguished Women Researcher, both in Life Sciences.

The third award-winner was Rose Lekhooa in the Doctoral Fellowship category. She is studying toward a PhD in Pharmacology and said the fellowship will enable her to attend seminars and workshops internationally.

Friday’s award was the second, in as many months, for Dr Gryzenhout. She received the TW Kambule NRF-NSTF Award as emerging researcher in June 2013. She was the recipient of the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations’ Outstanding Doctoral Research award in 2010.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, said, “Dr Gryzenhout represents one of a growing group of very impressive young scientists at the university who are emerging as leading international scholars in their fields.

“Her international leadership in mycology research has already made significant impacts on the African continent and beyond. The university will continue to invest in these young academic stars through its Prestige Scholars Programme where scholars like Dr Gryzenhout are increasingly well-placed to be the next generation of scientific leaders in the world.”

“It as a great privilege to receive the award, especially as second one in this year,” Dr Gryzenhout said. She established a research programme, Mycotoxigenic and Phytopathogenic Fungi, at the UFS. She is president of the African Mycological Association and general secretary of the International Society for Fungal Conservation. She is also a member of the Nomenclature Committee for Fungi – a permanent committee of the International Botanical Congress.

Prof Labuschagne received the African Union Kwame Nkrumah award for life and earth sciences in 2011, and the National Agriculturalist of the Year Award and the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) Award for research-capacity development over the last five to ten years, both in 2008.

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