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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.


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Intervarsity 2013 a paragon of friendly rivalry
2013-08-06

 

Photo: RooistoelTv
10 August 2013

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The recent intervarsity between the University of the Free State (UFS) and the North-West University was a huge success. This 70th celebration of intervarsity between the two institutions, which took place for the first time in 1927, is the oldest event of its kind in South Africa.

According to Rudi Buys, Dean of Student Affairs at the UFS, it is also the most comprehensive and most innovative intervarsity in the country and since 2010 includes all incorporated campuses of universities such as the University of the North. The focus is no longer on sports only, but also on cultural programmes and forums for discussion between student leaders.

Of the 32 sport and culture activities intervarsities between the UFS and the NWU, the UFS won 16, the NWU 13 and three ended in a tie.

Sports and cultural activities like debate were held across the Bloemfontein Campus. Record numbers of supporters attended the different matches, debating competitions and festivities. The first SRC Presidents’ Reunion that took place during the intervarsity is regarded as a special milestone in the history of the UFS.

“We are particularly satisfied that students of diverse backgrounds and campuses took part in and attended intervarsity events and in this way showcased the rich variety of Kovsies with great pride,” Buys said.

“The successful course of the intervarsity confirms that it is important for the UFS to maintain its proud history of almost 100 years with the NWU, but to also update in order to reflect our young democracy and in pace with a young generation of South Africans who are now our students,” Buys concluded.

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