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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

Kovsies Wayde van Niekerk wins gold at the IAAF World Championship
2015-08-27

  

Wayde van Niekerk has done it! He ran the men’s 400m race in a sensational 43.48 seconds. First over the finishing line, he left the former world champion, LaShawn Merritt, and reigning Olympic champion, Kirani James, well behind.

They were competing at the IAAF World Championship in Beijing, China, on Wednesday 26 August 2015.

This glorious achievement makes him the fourth-fastest athlete in the history of the event, with only Michael Johnson, Butch Reynolds, and Jeremy Wariner bettering Van Niekerk’s time. He is also South Africa’s first world sprint champion.

Back at home, the entire university community backed him with each stride. With his race broadcast live on big screens in the Callie Human Centre, shouts of encouragement reverberated across the Bloemfontein Campus.

Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, said: "The community of the University of the Free State is so incredibly proud of our student, Wayde van Niekerk, who is now the World Champion over 400m! This is an astounding accomplishment of an exceptionally talented Gold Medalist, who has remained humble, friendly, and decent in his value system, despite rising to the top of the world. The celebrations here in Kovsieland will go on for many weeks to come, and we cannot wait for him to come home."

Facebook video of Kovsie staff and students watching the race on big screen.
YouTube video of the race.


Other articles about Wayde:

http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/news-archive-item?news=6415
http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/news-archive-item?news=6402
http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/news-archive-item?news=6391
http://www.ufs.ac.za/templates/news-archive-item?news=6373

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