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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

Council votes on appointment of senior staff
2004-11-18

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) today voted on the filling of three senior vacancies, including one post at Dean level and two at the level of Vice-Dean.

The Council voted as follows:

Dr Natie Luyt will be offered the post of Dean: Student Affairs Prof Engela Pretorius will be offered the post of Vice-Dean: Faculty of Humanities Dr Choice Makhetha will be offered the post of Vice-Dean: Student Affairs

“There are special challenges for the UFS in the short and medium term regarding transformation of our residences, and a certain combination of management qualities and skills is desirable. As a result of the diversity of the UFS’s student community it is therefore important to us to follow a team approach to deal with the challenges. With the combination of Drs Luyt and Makhetha, I believe we will be able to manage student affairs effectively and skillfully,” says Prof Frederick Fourie, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.

“It is wonderful that we are able to celebrate the outcome of this process that has brought forward such excellent candidates who reflect our country’s diversity. It shows that we can achieve the goals of quality and diversity at the same time,” says Prof Fourie.

Prof Pretorius obtained all her qualifications (BA, BA (Hons) (cum laude), MA (cum laude) and D Phil) from the UFS, except for the Certificate in Gender Policy Management (cum laude) which she obtained in 2000 from WITS. She joined the Department of Sociology at UFS in 1980 and has headed the Department since 2001. She acted as Vice-Dean: Faculty of Humanities since July 2004. She has some thirty publications to her credit, published both nationally and internationally and has delivered 20 national and international papers. She is a member of the South African Sociological Association and is a member of the Council of the association and of the Editorial Board of Society in Transition, the society’s journal. She is also a member of the South African Academy for Science and Art and the Federation of African Women Educationalists in South Africa (FAWESA). Project involvement includes the Australian Women’s Executive Development Programme and the project Executive Development of Senior Women in South African Higher Education Institutions. She is also an NRF panelist.

Dr Luyt obtained his qualifications (BA, BA (Hons) (cum laude), MA (cum laude) and D Phil) at the UFS and started his career at the same institution in 1980 as lecturer in Political Science. He was promoted to senior lecturer in 1983 and appointed as Director: Student Affairs in 1997. He has been acting as Dean: Student Affairs since 2003. Dr Luyt completed several work-related training courses, among others a course in ethnic and multiculturality at the Swiss Institute for Federalism and a course in conflict management at the South Tyrolean Economic and Social Institute.

Dr Makheta also obtained all her qualifications (BA, BA (Hons), MA in Political Science and Ph D in Political Science) at the UFS and started working as a student assistant in Political Science at the same institution in 1999. She was promoted to junior assistant in 2000, coordinator and facilitator of Political Science in 2001, assistant/acting Director: Student Affairs in 2001 and acting Director: Student Affairs in 2003. Dr Makhetha is currently a Senior Political Analyst at the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The UFS Council also approved the promotion of nine professors to the rank of senior professor. They are Proff Louise Cilliers (Department English and Classical Languages), Dap Louw (Department of Psychology), Philip Nel (Department Afro-Asiatic Studies, Sign Language and Language Practice), Dirk van den Berg (Department of History of Art and Visual Culture Studies) Dingie van Rensburg (Director: Centre for Health Systems Research and Develoment), Andries Raath (Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law), James du Preez (Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology), Johan Grobbelaar (Department of Plant Sciences) and Louis Scott (Department of Plant Sciences).

This is the first group ever of senior professors at the UFS. The post level was created to provide better career and earnings opportunities for high quality academics and to increase the attractiveness of an academic career to young people.

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

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