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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

UFS researcher engineers metal surfaces
2015-03-03

Shaun Cronjé, a PhD student, in a surface characterisation laboratory at the UFS.

It is well known that the surface of a component is much more vulnerable to damage than the interior, and that surface-originated degradation such as wear, corrosion, and fracture will eventually destroy the component.

“Engineering the surface, based on scientific knowledge, is essential to control these damaging processes. It also creates electronic and geometric structures on the surface which opens up a world of new devices, especially considering the properties on the nano-length scale,” said Prof Wiets Roos from the Department of Physics at the University of the Free State (UFS).

At elevated temperatures, atoms are more mobile and can migrate to grain boundaries and surfaces, which have a major influence on material properties. The redistribution of solute atoms between the surface and the bulk of the material is known as segregation. Knowing the behaviour of segregation at the surface/environment interface can be very useful in the development of new materials. As an example materials can be improved higher efficiency and lower fuel consumption, thus reducing environmental pollution.

The main aims of Prof Roos’s research are to understand surface segregation, use it as a tool, and contribute to the various surface engineering fields.

The surface characterisation laboratories at the UFS are well equipped to do high temperature segregation measurements, and have already proven a success, not only in the ability to prepare the specimens for characterisation, but also in developing models and procedures to quantify the segregation parameters.

The most recent results have demonstrated the importance of taking evaporation into account during quantification.” This has laid the foundation for future studies by installing the necessary hardware in a surface characterisation spectrometer, establishing experimental protocols, and improving an existing model (developed in this laboratory) for simulating segregation profiles,” said Prof Roos.

Segregation parameters allow the researcher to predict and utilise the surface concentration behaviour as a function of temperature and time. “This not only contributes to fields involving corrosion, oxidation, sintering, wear, chemical poisoning, powder metallurgy, and lubrication but adds to the development of self-healing devices,” said Prof Roos.

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