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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

Machinery and equipment to the value of R6 million acquired by UFS Instrumentation Division
2015-07-02

Photo: Supplied

At an information session held on the Bloemfontein Campus, the Instrumentation Division in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS) introduced its new Computer Numeral Control (CNC) machines to the value of R6 million.

Initially, the primary aim of the Instrumentation workshop was to design, produce, and maintain special research equipment which is unavailable on the market, mainly for academic departments. The small-scale production focused on producing support material and equipment for research work.

However, with new equipment and machinery the Division now also can deliver a service to corporate companies and external associates.
 
The CNC machines include a 5-axis Vertical Machining Centre from Haas imported from America. This is one of only four in South Africa, with two in Johannesburg and one in Cape Town.  The lathe makes it possible to produce sophisticated parts, which were previously cumbersome and difficult to make. The machines also cover a wide spectrum in the mechanical field such as the the FLOW Water Jet, which cuts a wide variety of material ranging from titanium to wood without utilising heat, thus saving electricity. This makes it possible to cut a wide variety of materials.

With the new machinery now available, the Instrumentation Division is able to perform high quality and quantity production with precision.

“The advantage of the machinery is that it stimulates production, and is much faster and more accurate than the conventional way of doing things,” said Pieter Botes, Head of the Division.

Botes explained that, by having students and professional artisans at the university design and manufacture equipment, costs are reduced when compared with the expensive nature of equipment and tools found in the market. In addition, “the machines broaden the scope of research conducted” said Botes. The technical dynamics of the machinery advances the scientific knowledge needed to operate it, so bridging the gap between theory and practice.

The Central University of Technology, Signs Division Bloemfontein, Product Development Technology Station (PDTS), Maizey’s, and Knottco Truckparts are some of the university’s trade partners.

The workshop collaborates with the Chemistry, Physics, Microbiology, Botany, Agriculture, and Electronics departments, as well as the Institute of Groundwater Studies at the UFS, and others. These departments receive services in the form of pipette stands, containers for test tubes, bottles, laboratory trolleys, stands for cadavers for Anatomy, pump repairs, stainless steel bailers, filaments, and heaters.

The Instrumentation Division is, therefore, a vital support unit for the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences as well as the university at large.

Companies, institutions, or individuals who need the Division’s expertise may contact Pieter Botes on botespds@ufs.ac.za.

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