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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

Shimlas now second on Varsity Cup log
2015-02-25

After scoring nine tries to none to establish a 57-0 win over the Central University of Technology’s (CUT) Ixias in round three of the 2015 Varsity Cup Rugby Tournament, the UFS Shimlas are now second on the overall log.

Despite thunder showers in Bloemfontein on the evening of Monday 23 February, the match at the CUT Rugby Stadium continued. Shimlas’ Arthur Williams opened the scoreboard early with the first try of the evening, after getting his hands on a loose ball to break through the CUT defense line. Only four minutes later, Shimlas’ flank Gerhard Olivier scored another try. Both of these tries were successfully converted by Niel Marais, putting Shimlas in a 16-0 lead within less than seven minutes.

By halftime, the Shimlas’ lead had increased to 39-0. Daniel Maartens started the second-half scoring for the UFS when he crossed the try line in the 46th minute to secure Shimlas’ seventh try. After another successful conversion kick by Marais, the scoreboard read 47-0.

The match began to lose its spark as handling errors and ill-discipline became the order of the day. CUT were reduced to 14 men for the second time in the match, when Boetie Makethlo was sent to the sin bin in the 75th minute for an infringement at the breakdown, inches away from his try line.

Maartens went over the try line again in the 78th minute, scoring Shimlas’ eighth try in the match and taking his team’s score beyond the 50 mark. Shimlas managed yet another try in the last minute, with Niell Jordaan diving over the try line for old time’s sake.

Although the Shimlas’ 2015 Varsity Cup started off with a 29-29 draw against the University of Pretoria’s Tuks in Bloemfontein, they returned the following week to clinch a 24-0 win against the University of Johannesburg at the UJ Stadium. Apart from Tuks, who is at this stage on top of the log, no team has scored against Shimlas thus far in the 2015 Varsity Cup.

Up next, Shimlas will face the Stellenbosch University’s Maties side at Shimla Park in Bloemfontein for round four of the tournament on Monday 2 March 2015.

Our Player that Rocks: Niell Jordaan

Shimlas’ point scorers:

Tries: Arthur Williams, Gerhard Olivier (2), Marco Klopper, Vuyani Maqina (2), Daniel Maartens (2), Niell Jordaan
Conversion kicks: Niel Marais 4

 

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