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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

Neonatal Care Unit receives donation to expand capacity
2015-10-28

  

With the best care and technology available,
the survival rate of premature
babies is about 85%. The neonatal intensive
care unit at the Universitas hospital can now
expand its capacity thanks to a donation of
R1 million by the Discovery fund.
From the left is Prof André Venter.
Head: Department of Paediatrics and
Child Health at the UFS, and mrs Ruth Lewin,
Head: Corporate Sustainability at Discovery. 

The smallest people need the greatest care. This care is being provided by the neonatal unit in the Children’s Wing of the Universitas Hospital. This project of the University of the Free State (UFS), under the leadership of Prof Andre Venter, has led to several miracles regarding child health since its inception.

Now, thanks to a donation of R1 million rand from the Discovery fund, this unit can expand its capacity and treat more premature babies.

About 14% of babies in South Africa are born before the 37th week of pregnancy. These babies are born with a very low birth weight, and are in need of critical care. The neonatal intensive-care unit at Universitas Hospital is currently equipped to take care of about 14 premature babies at a time, from birth to discharge. However, because of the high incidence of premature births in the hospital’s service area, the unit needs about 45 beds.

The aim of the Children’s Wing Project is to expand the neonatal intensive-care unit in order to meet the demands of the hospital’s service area, which reaches as far as the Southern Cape. The Discovery Fund recently donated R1 million to the project, which will be used to expand the capacity of the neonatal intensive-care unit.

“With the best care and technology available, the survival rate of premature babies is about 85%. Without this, half of all premature babies would die,” says Prof Venter, Head: Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at the UFS.

“This is the reason why private and public partnerships, such as the one with Discovery, are essential to make specialised services available to the most vulnerable people. Discovery has made a significant contribution to the project without which we would not have been able to expand the capacity of the unit



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