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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

UFS waives application fees for studies in 2016
2015-10-22

The University of the Free State (UFS) has waived application fees for all prospective undergraduate and postgraduate students - nationally and internationally - who want to study at the institution in 2016.

"Universities charge application fees that vary in amount. With 25 universities in South Africa, this fee becomes a burden for students who want to apply to more than one university. The university leadership has also realised that tens of thousands of students who qualify for university entrance stumble at the first hurdle: finding the money to apply,” says Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector.

According to Prof Jansen, the UFS would like to set an example and a challenge to all public universities to scrap the application fee, so that many more young people from poor communities can realise their dream of accessing higher education. At the same time, the universities will benefit from more top talent coming into higher learning. "The more students that enrol and graduate, the stronger the financial position of universities will be; it is a win-win policy, and the university leadership has done the maths on this," he says.
 
The application fees for 2016 were R235 for South African students and R500 for international students. Prospective students, who have already applied for admission in 2016, will not be refunded. However, students who have already registered successfully for 2016 may apply to have the application fee credited to their tuition fee account after they have registered next year.
 
To support this initiative, UFS Marketing will be conducting an on-site application campaign by visiting East London, Port Elizabeth, Kimberley, Qwaqwa, Kathu, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Newcastle, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, and Ladysmith from 28 August 2015. Further details of the venues in each town will be available on the Kovsie2b Facebook page.

All prospective students currently doing their final-year undergraduate studies at either the UFS or any other university will also pay no registration fee if they want to continue with an Honours degree in 2016. The registration fee for 2016 was R950.
 
The closing date for applications for admission is 31 December 2015.

Apply for undergraduate or postgraduate studies at the UFS for 2016.

For enquiries, please call +27(0)51 401 9111.

 

 

 

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