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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

Unbeaten and hosting the Varsity Cup final
2015-03-31

Photo: Johan Roux

Not only will UFS Shimlas rugby team host their first-ever Varsity Cup final in Bloemfontein, but they still remain the only unbeaten side in this year’s tournament.

Shimlas knocked the defending champions, the University of Cape Town Ikeys team, out of the tournament during the semifinal in Bloemfontein on Monday 30 March 2015, beating the visitors 21-10. In Pretoria, North-West University’s Pukke crushed  top-of-the-log University of Pretoria Tukkies with a close-edged 29-28 win in the other semifinal.

It was the first-ever home semifinal for Shimlas. The home side showed determination from the start of the match when No.8 Niell Jordaan crossed the line early on for the first try of the clash. Shimlas’ Niel Marais was successful with the kick at goal, giving the home side an 8 - 0 lead.

Shortly afterwards, the Ikeys scored their first try of the match, but were unsuccessful with the conversion kick. Shimlas struck back with a driving maul where flank Daniel Maartens scored the second Shimlas’ try of the night, taking the scoreboard to 16-5 after yet another conversion by Marais.

Ikeys managed to get another unconverted try shortly before the halftime break, leaving the score at 16-10 after the first 40 minutes, with just two conversions separating the teams.

The second half saw less action, but Shimlas’ left wing Maphutha Dolo scored his team’s third and final try of the match, putting them in a 21-10 lead minutes before full time.

Shimlas will host Pukke for this year’s Varsity Cup final on Monday 13 April at 19:00 at Shimla Park, UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

Player that Rocks:
Daniel Maartens

UFS Shimlas point scorers:

Tries: Niell Jordaan, Daniel Maartens, Maphutha Dolo
Cons: Niel Marais (2)

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