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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

International Association of Hydrogeologists strengthens ties with IGS
2015-03-31

 

From the left are: Prof Neil Heideman, Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Mr Shammy Puri, secretary-general of the International Association of Hydrogeologists, and Prof Danie Vermeulen, Director of the Institute for Groundwater Studies.
Photo: Supplied

The Institute for Groundwater Studies (IGS) is in the process of establishing a SADC Groundwater Management Institute, sponsored by the World Bank. To coincide with this process, the IGS received a visit from Mr Shammy Puri, the secretary-general of the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH).

“The aim of the visit was to further cooperation between the IAH and IGS regarding transboundary aquifers in the SADC region,” said Prof Danie Vermeulen, Director at the IGS.

The International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH/AIH) is a scientific and educational charitable organisation for scientists, engineers, water managers, and other professionals working in the fields of groundwater resource planning, management, and protection.  The IAH is the leading international society for the science and practice of hydrogeology, and is a globally recognised information source and facilitator for the transfer of groundwater knowledge.

Mr Shammy Puri was elected Secretary-General of IAH in 2008, and chaired the Commission on Transboundary Aquifer Resources Management (TARM) from 1998 to 2011.

During his visit, Mr Puri also presented lectures to the postgraduate students at the Institute on Transboundary Aquifers. He was also invited by the Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Prof Neil Heideman, to present the faculty prestige lecture later this year.

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