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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

UFS research on yeast nanorobotics
2006-05-09

Ten members from the University of the Free State's (UFS) Lipid Biotechnology Research Group in the Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology will be presenting their research  on yeast nanorobotics (nanotechnology) at three international conferences in Europe during May and June 2006.

 

It is one of the biggest group of students from the department to present their research overseas.  

The conferences to be attended include the 2nd International Conference on Non Mammalian Eicosanoids, Bioactive Lipids and Plant Oxylipins held in Berlin, Germany; the 3rd European Conference on Computational Mechanics (ECCM-2006) held in Lisbon, Portugal and the 25th International Specialised Symposium on Yeasts (ISSY 2006) held in Helsinki, Finland.  The UFS Lipid Biotechnology Group is also co-organising the conference in Berlin.

The group members are in front from the left Ms Chantel Swart (M Sc student), Ms Ntsoaki Leeuw (M Sc student) and Ms Monique Goldblatt (M Sc student).
Middle from the left Mr Olihile Sebolai (Ph D student and recipient of the Free State Premier Excellence Award), Ms Ané van Heerden (M Sc student) and Dr Catrine Strauss (post-doctoral student).
At the back are from the left Mr Desmond Ncango (M Sc), Dr Carlien Pohl (Senior Researcher), Prof Pieter van Wyk (Head: UFS Center for Confocal and Electron Microscopy) and Prof Lodewyk Kock (Head: UFS Lipid Biotechnology Group).
Photo: Stephen Collett

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