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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 first to mechanise agricultural technique
2006-05-09

    

Small farmers from Thaba `Nchu were the biggest group attending the farmers day at the UFS Paradys experimental farm.  From the left are Mr David Motlhale (a small farmer from Thaba 'Nchu), Prof Leon van Rensburg (lecturer at the UFS Department of Soil, Crop and Climate Sciences and project leader), Mr Nhlonipho Nhlabatsi (Agricultural Research Council, Glen), Ms Meisie Mthethwa (small farmer from Bloemspruit).  In front is Mr Patrick Molatodi (chairperson of the Tswelopele Small Farmer Association).
 

 

Some of the participants of the farmers day at the UFS Paradys experimental farm were from the left Prof Leon van Rensburg (lecturer at the UFS Department of Soil, Crop and Climate Sciences and project leader, Mr Patrick Molatodi (chairperson of the Tswelopele Small Farmers Association) and Prof Herman van Schalkwyk (Dean: UFS Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences).

UFS first tertiary institution in world to mechanise agricultural technique
The University of the Free State (UFS) is the first tertiary institution in the world to mechanise the in-field rain water harvesting technique on a commercial scale.

The technique was recently demonstrated to about 100 small farmers at the UFS Paradys experimental farm outside Bloemfontein. 

“With this technique rain water is channeled to the plant and in this way food security is increased.  The advantage of the technique for commercial farmers lies in the reduced cultivation of land.  Small farmers will benefit from this because they can now move out into the fields and away from farming in their back yards,” says Prof Leon van Rensburg, lecturer at the UFS Department of Soil, Crop and Climate Sciences and project leader.    

Rain water harvesting is an antique concept that was used by communities before the birth of Christ.  In South Africa the technique is mainly used in the plots of small farmers where they make surface structures by hand. 

"The technique is also used for the first time by the UFS on commercial scale by means of the cultivation of a summer crop on 100 ha at the Paradys experimental farm,” says Prof Leon van Rensburg,

Of the farmers who attended the farmers day most represented about 42 rural communities in the vicinity of Thaba ‘Nchu.  A group of seven from KwaZulu-Natal also attended the proceedings.  These small farmers can for example apply this technique successfully on the 250-300 ha communal land that is available in the Thaba ‘Nchu area. 

The project is funded by the UFS and the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the farmers’ day was funded by the Water Research Commission.   

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:   (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
9 May 2006

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