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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

Faculty of Health Sciences celebrates various successes
2015-01-12

The Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Free State achieved a number of successes in the course of 2014. This included awards, presentations and keynote addresses at conferences, as well as publications in various journals.

Some of the highlights are:

• Dr Madelein Koning from the Department of Internal Medicine received the Vice-Chancellor’s award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning during November. Prof Alan St Claire Gibson said the award is richly deserved, given Dr Koning’s many years of high-quality teaching and input to particularly the fifth-year MB ChB students.

• Prof Schalk Wentzel, Head of the Department of Urology, was elected President of the South African College of Urology, and Prof Alicia Sherriff from the Department of Oncology was elected President of the South African College of Oncology.  Prof William Rae was appointed to the College of Radiologists. These are the highest and most prestigious offices an academic clinician can hold or be elected to in the specialty of their choice. Prof Rae also published an article in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. 

• Prof Nats Mofolo, Head of the Department of Family Medicine, gave a keynote address at the Free State Health Indaba hosted by the Free State Department of Health.

• Dr Holtzhausen from the Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine chaired and delivered a presentation at the 6th Clinical Sport and Exercise Medicine Conference of SA held in Cape Town from 22 to 24 October 2014. He was also the convener of the conference. His presentation was titled ‘Safer exercise in apparently healthy individuals and those with possible risk factors for chronic disease and injury’.

 

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