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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

A Kovsie parade through Bloemfontein's streets
2014-02-04


Photo: Albert van Biljon

The community of Bloemfontein came out in numbers to watch the annual Kovsie Rag procession on Saturday 1 February 2014. Young and old lined the roads around the Bloemfontein Campus to get a glimpse of the colourful floats moving through the city’s streets. Onlookers showed their support for the UFS’s charitable fun drive, dropping coins in the money tins of first-year students who made their way through the crowds.

Celebrating the hard work of students who spent hours building floats, festivities kicked off with a morning parade to Heidedal and Mangaung. Here the Rag Office distributed 10 000 meals to members of the community.

With a beloved Hollywood panda as their inspiration, JBM, Soetdoring and Imperium residences were crowned winners of the movie-themed float-building competition later the evening. Their Kung Fu Panda float led the way as the main procession made its way to the Chevrolet Cricket Stadium for a night of celebration with music stars Mango Groove, Zakes Bantwini and Robbie Wessels.  

Mango Groove had the audience on their feet playing well-known hits like Special Star, Moments Away and Hometalk. Robbie Wessels and Bantwini also didn't disappoint, with the audience stomping feet to their music. In addition, partygoers were treated to an amazing fireworks display that lightened up the Bloemfontein night sky.

Float-building results: 

  • Overall winners: JBM, Soetdoring and Imperium 
  • Winners Pool A: JBM, Soetdoring and Imperium
  • Winners Pool B: Welwitchia and Tswelopele 

The overall assessment of floats was made up of 100 points. The impression of the floats on the little ones was very important, as children judges awarded 25% of the score. They gave a mark out of 10 and it was converted to a mark out of 25.

The assessment by the adult judges counted for 75 points. The criteria were as follows:

  • General impression and colour: 25 points
  • Detail: 25 points
  • Did the float complement the theme: 15 points

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