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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.


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Kovsies successfully host USSA Football Club Championships
2016-04-13

Description: 2016 04 12 KL Soccer Tags: Kovsies successfully host USSA Football Club Championships
Kovsies and Tshwane University of Technology in action at the University Sport South Africa Football Club Championships.
Photo: Charl Devenish

All 30 teams fought fiercely for their positions at the University Sport South Africa (USSA) Football Club Championships 2015 Tournament, held at the University of the Free State. The tournament was meant to be hosted here in Bloemfontein last year, but was re-scheduled for 21-25 March 2016. The University of Pretoria became champions in the men’s section, while the women’s trophy found a home at the University of the Western Cape.

Of the15 institutions taking part in the men’s section, Kovsies emerged at number 11. Our women’s team took the number seven spot among the 14 contenders.

KovsieSoccer coach, Godfrey Tenoff, was impressed with the women’s team. “Our girls outperformed themselves, given that we had only 15 players when we started the tournament, and ended up with 10 who were intact. They were absolutely phenomenal. We never lost in the group matches. The strength of the group enabled us to qualify for the Varsity Football competition.”

On the other hand, the performance of the men’s team was less impressive. “It’s disappointing that we did not produce the kind of performance needed for big competitions, although we had the best team. We are number one in the SAB League, yet some players are lacking the big match temperament,” he said.

However, there is still hope for better scores. The forthcoming Vodacom Cup and the USSA Championships taking place later this year are an opportunity to improve.

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