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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

New computer centre
2007-05-15

Attending the sod turning ceremony of the University of the Free State's (UFS) new computer centre were, from the left: Mr Abraham Makhalanyane (Director of Sikeyi Construction), Prof. Frederick Fourie (Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS) and Mr Johann Ströhfeldt (Director of Ströhfeldt Construction Group). The centre, which will host about 815 computers, will be erected in a joint venture between the two construction companies.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs
 

UFS gets new computer centre

The first sod of a new computer centre which will host about 815 computers was turned on the Main Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein today.

The computer centre, which will be situated next to the UFS Sasol Library, will have various state-of-the-art computer laboratories. This is the first new building to be built on the Main Campus since the student centre, Thakaneng Bridge, and will be erected at a total project cost of R19 million.

“The computer centre is an important addition to our strategy to promote e-learning and is a sign of the new era of blended learning which students are now practicing,” said Prof. Frederick Fourie, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, during the sod-turning ceremony.

According to Prof. Fourie the building will address students’ need for available computers. “All our students do not have a computer to assist them with their studies. The centre will empower them to complete their studies successfully and will provide them with the opportunity to conduct research in an academic environment,” said Prof. Fourie.

“Various laboratories for among others group work, as well as laboratories where students can work in a quiet environment on individual assignments will be established. Rooms for classes where a computer is a prerequisite to students as well as rooms for examinations, tests and practical sessions will be provided,” said Prof. Fourie.

The computers will not only comprise of traditional programmes, but rooms with programmes for open learning will also be established. Subject specific software will be installed in certain rooms to enable students to obtain a good knowledge of the subject fields.

The computer centre, which will be open seven days a week, will also be at the disposal of UFS staff.

“I am looking forward to this development on the Main Campus. It will be a thrill to see more than 800 students studying in the computer laboratories,” said Prof. Fourie.

The building will be erected in a joint venture between Ströhfeldt Construction Group and Sikeyi Construction, a black empowerment company. Mr Abraham Makhalanyane, Director of Sikeyi Construction, thanked the UFS for the opportunity to be involved with a project of this magnitude. “A project like this is a great responsibility and I am looking forward to work with a team of experts,” he said. Mr Johann Ströhfeldt, Director of Ströhfeldt Construction Group, said: “We have been working with the UFS on construction projects for more than 25 years. I believe that this project will also contribute to the pride and glory of the UFS.”

The expected completion date of the computer centre is May 2008.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl@ufs.ac.za
14 May 2007
 

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