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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

Death may come in adorable little packages
2015-03-23

The main host of the Lassa virus is the Natal Mulimammate mouse.

Photo: Supplied

Postdoctoral researcher, Abdon Atangana, of the Institute for Groundwater Studies at the university recently published an article online about the Lassa Haemorrhagic fever in the Natural Computing Applications Forum. In addition to the terminal transmissible sickness recognised as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, there is another strain called Lassa haemorrhagic fever.

The disease is classified under the arenaviridae virus family. The first outbreaks of the disease were observed in Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Central African Republic. However, it was first described in 1969 in the town of Lassa, in Borno State, Nigeria.

The main host of the Lassa virus is the Natal Mulimammate mouse, an animal indigenous to most of Sub-Saharan Africa. The contamination in humans characteristically takes place through exposure to animal excrement through the respiratory or gastrointestinal tracts.

Mouthfuls of air containing tiny particle of infective material are understood to be the most noteworthy way of exposure. It is also possible to acquire the infection through broken skin or mucous membranes that are directly exposed to the infective material.

“The aim of my research was to propose a novel mathematical equation used to describe the spread of the illness amongst pregnant women in West Africa. To achieve this, I used my newly-proposed derivative with fractional order called beta-derivative. Since none of the commonly used integral transform could be used to derive the solution of the proposed model, I proposed a new integral transform called Atangana-Transform, and used it, together with some iterative technique, to derive the solution of the model.

“My numerical simulations show that the disease is as deadly amongst pregnant women as Ebola,” Abdon said.

Abdon’s research was submitted to one of Springer’s top-tier journals with an impact factor 1.78. The paper was accepted and published February 2015.

Read more about Abdon’s research.

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