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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

Kovsie Netball team aims for first home final on Monday 12 October 2015
2015-10-09

Kovsies Netball has been unbeaten this year.

The University of the Free State (UFS) netball team  is hoping to continue its good performance in the Varsity Sport series against the North-West University on Monday 12 October 2015 at 19:00, in order to reach the finals for a third consecutive year.

The teams will meet in the Callie Human Centre on the Bloemfontein Campus for a follow-up of last year’s semi-final. Kovsies won that that game in Bloemfontein with a score of 51-45.

If the home team prevails, they will be hosting a final for the first time.

The Kovsies, who were unbeaten this year, and finished at the top of the log, were the champions in the first two seasons, but had to play away from home in the final against Pukke in 2013 and Tuks in 2014.

The last league match they lost against Pukke was in 2013. The score in Pretoria was 47-60 in favour of the Pukke.

Many of the clashes between the teams have been very close games. Last year, there was a 45-45 draw in Potchefstroom.

In the first round of 2015 between Kovsies and Pukke in Bloemfontein, the UFS won by 47-38.

In their final league match in Stellenbosch on Monday 5 October 2015, Kovsies won against Maties by 41-33, while the Pukke, who ended fourth on the log, defeated the Madibaz 65-32 in Potchefstroom.

In the other semi-final on Monday, Tukkies and Maties, second and third respectively on the log, will play against each other in Pretoria. This match will be broadcast live on a big screen in the Callie Human Centre on Monday.

The Kovsie captain, Karla Mostert, who will be playing for Bath in England next year, is currently ahead on votes for Player of the Series. Last year, she was also Player of the Series. Fans may vote for her on the Varsity Sport Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/varsitysportsSA.

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