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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 still the only unbeaten side in 2015 Varsity
2015-03-18

The Shimlas remain the only unbeaten side in this year’s Varsity Cup rugby tournament after their bonus-point 44-24 win against the University of Cape Town Ikeys in Bloemfontein.

The home side managed a very comfortable 34-8 lead in the first half against the defending champions Ikeys. No matter how hard the Ikeys fought back, the Shimlas win was inevitable, and secured the first ever home semifinal at the UFS.

It was in the second minute that Shimlas’ Gerhard Olivier went over the try line. The Shimlas continued to press forward, and kept the game play primarily in the UCT half of the field. By the time the first Strategy Break came along, the Shimlas already had a 21-0 lead over their visitors. The Ikeys did manage one converted try before halftime, still leaving the home side with  a 34-8 lead.

After halftime, there was still no stopping the Shimlas. Even when UCT’s attempt at a comeback saw them scoring their second converted try, the point difference were still 18 points. Shortly after, Olivier scored his third try for the Shimlas. The Ikeys’ response to this was scoring a third try in their comeback effort, putting the scoreboard at 39-24 with Shimlas still in the lead after 65 minutes.

Despite Ikeys’ attempt for their bonus point try near fulltime, Shimlas’ counter-attack saw their replacement player Boela Venter cross the try line for the last  time to secure a 44-24 win for the home side.

The Shimlas will host North-West University’s Pukke side at Shimla Park in the last round of the tournament this coming Monday. For the first time since the Varsity Cup’s inauguration in 2008, the UFS side has already secured a home semifinal for the week after.

Shimlas point scorers:

Tries: Gerhard Olivier (3), Johan van der Hoogt, Danie Maartens (2), Boela Venter
Conversion kicks: Niel Marais (3)

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