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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

Three Kovsies in Protea Women’s Hockey team
2015-10-12

Tanya Britz
Photo: Johan Roux

Three Kovsies were included in the Protea Women’s Hockey team to compete in a qualifying Africa tournament for the Olympic Games.

Tanya Britz, Nicole Walraven, and Cornelle Botha were chosen to represent their country in Randburg, Johannesburg, from 23 October to 1 November 2015.

All three have been playing for the Kovsie Women’s Hockey team in the Varsity series. The team lost in the finals against the University of Johannesburg in Bloemfontein.

The trio are the only Free State players in the South African group.

Five current Protea players from the University of the Free State (UFS) formed part of the provisional South African squad for the tournament in Randburg.

The other two not fortunate enough to be included in the final Protea team were Liné Malan and Izelle Lategan.

All five players formed part of the Free State Women’s Team that reached the semi-finals in Division A of the interprovincial tournament for the first time since 1986.

Britz, who is nearing 50 tests for South Africa, will probably play club hockey overseas next year.

Walraven, who was named as South Africa’s U21 Player of the Year, and Botha both made their debut on senior level for their country this year.

Both would probably still be available for Kovsies next year.

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