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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

Recognition to excellent researchers
2004-11-16

The University of the Free State will give recognition to excellent researchers at UFS on Tuesday 16 November 2004. “This recognition function will also serve as the first annual lecture in research excellence,” says Prof Frans Swanepoel, Director of Research Development Division at the UFS.

This is the first occasion of its kind in the UFS. It coincides with the university’s centenary celebrations. The recognition of excellent research shows the UFS’s commitment and innovative focus on research as one of its core functions,” says Prof. Swanepoel.

Recognition will be given in different categories. They are female researchers, black researchers, young researchers, C- and L-Rated researchers, researchers with significant research outputs, B-Rated researchers and distinguished professors in research.

The promotion of equity and development of research capacity of designated groups is one of the objectives of the UFS’s research strategy therefore the university is recognising the research achievements of 21 women and 16 black persons. Amongst these are Prof. Margaret Raftery (English and Classical Languages), Dr Liesl van As (Zoology and Entomology), Prof. Peter Mbati (head of the Qwaqwa campus) and Prof. Charles Ngwena (Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law).

The UFS is also recognising nine young researchers. They must hold a doctorate and have the potential to establish themselves as researchers within a five-year period based on their performance and productivity as researchers during their doctoral studies and/or early post-doctoral careers. Amongst them are Dr Esta van Heerden (Microbial Biochemical and Food Biotechnology) and Prof. André Jooste (Agricultural Economics).

Fifty-eight established researchers with a sustained recent record of productivity are receiving recognition in the C- and L-rated researchers’ category. Amongst them were Prof. Hennie van Coller (Afrikaans, Dutch, German and French) and Prof. Gert Erasmus (Animal- and Wildlife- and Grassland Sciences).

Prof. Francois Tolmie (New Testament) and Prof. Gina Joubert (Biostatistics) are two of the twelve researchers that are receiving recognition for having excelled in research outputs during recent years.

Nine researchers are acknowledged in the B-category for the international recognition they receive from their peers for the high quality and impact of their recent research outputs. Amongst them were Prof. Johan Grobbelaar (Plant Sciences) and Prof. Hendrik Swart (Physics). Prof. Grobbelaar focused in his research on limnology, algal biotechnology, plant stress and Prof. Swart focused on solid state physics and degradation mechanisms that are responsible for the degradation of field emission and TV displays.

Seven individuals are recognised for their exceptional achievements as researchers. Prof. Frederick Fourie, Rector, but previously in the Department of Economics, is recognised for his research in two policy areas: Political Economics, Government Finance and Fiscal Policy, and Industrial Economics, in particular analysis of the South African industrial structure and competition policy, where his research contributions played a key role in reforming South Africa’s competition policy.

Prof. Lodewyk Kock (Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology) focuses in his research mainly on pure and oxidised edible oil where yeasts are used as a study model. He obtained national as well as international recognition for this research program.

The UFS is also awarding the S2A3 Bronze Medal to recognise a Master’s degree student who has delivered outstanding research in one of the sciences. Mr Pieter Taljaard and Ms Tania Venter are recognised in this category.

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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