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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

Louzanne to represent South Africa at World Championship
2015-10-26


Louzanne making a leap for the finish line with guide runner Rouxné Vermaak

Within the space of seven days, Louzanne Coetzee will take part in both the 1500m and 800m events at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics World Championships, being held in Doha, Qatar, from 21-31 October 2015.

The BA Corporate and Marketing Communication Honours student at the University of the Free State (UFS) was selected to represent South Africa (SA) by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC). Team SA consists of 23 top athletes, who will be competing in different codes against 89 other countries.

The middle- and long-distance T11/F11 class athlete has won countless medals since her debut in professional athletics in 2012. After only five months, she reached the qualifying standard for international participation, with an impressive 2 minutes 53.8 seconds in the 800m at the 2013 Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled, held in Pretoria.

Louzanne has since achieved another international milestone by making the SA team, following her inaugural IPC meeting, hosted by France two years ago.  

 

“It’s a big honour for me to represent South Africa, and I count myself very fortunate to represent the country at the World Champs,” said the former Accessibility and Student Support Student Representative Council (SRC) member.

 

The IPC World Championships precede the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, which are known as “the biggest sporting event on the planet”. Qatar is Louzanne’s Rio, and she intends to outdo her personal best in order to qualify. “I want to get my ranking high enough so that I can go to Rio in 2016,” said the gold medallist.

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