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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

Wayde, Karla crowned as KovsieSport’s best
2015-10-21

 

The pride of KovsieSport. From the left, are: Ox Nche
(UFS Junior Sportman of the Year), Karla Mostert
(Senior Sportswoman of the Year), Wayde van Niekerk
(Senior Sportsman of the Year), and Brett Walraven
(on behalf of his sister, Nicole Walraven – Junior Sportswoman of the Year).
Photo: Hannes Naude

The journey does not belong to him alone, but to everyone at KovsieSport.

These were the words of University of the Free State’s (UFS) Wayde van Niekerk, after being named as KovsieSport’s Senior Sportsman of the Year on Wednesday 21 October 2015.

The South African sports star walked away with the award for the third consecutive year, while the Protea netball defender, Karla Mostert, was crowned Senior Sportswoman for the first time.

The Junior Bok, Ox Nche, and the Protea hockey player, Nicole Walraven, were named as Junior Sportsman and Junior Sportswoman of the Year respectively.

Nche represented South Africa’s U20 rugby team this year at the Junior World Championships, played for the Shimlas, and was named the UFS Rugby Club’s best junior player.

Walraven made her debut for South Africa in 2015. She was crowned jointly as the best player at the Provincial U21 tournament, and was also Hockey South Africa’s U21 Player of the Year.

Van Niekerk won gold in the 400 metres at the World Championships in Beijing, becoming only the fourth athlete in history to run the 400 m in less than 44 seconds, and the 200 metres in less than 20 seconds.

“This is precious, and something I will cherish as an athlete: being part of KovsieSport,” he said.

“I arrived at the UFS as a high school boy, started as a junior, and was accepted immediately.”

“I really appreciate everybody who played such a huge part in my life.”

Mostert was named as Player of the Series in the Brutal Fruit series, as well as the Varsity series this year. She was also a star for the Proteas at the World Cup.

“This (the award) is definitely a good way to end my time at Kovsies. This is something one is trying to achieve for years, so it really is a highlight.”

She said it was difficult to describe how much KovsieSport is doing for its athletes, and this was the reason why the UFS achieves so many successes in sport.


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