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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

Vishuis’s fourth Varsity Cup victory about more than rugby
2016-04-15

Description: Vishuis Tags: Vishuis

House Abraham Fischer, a residence from the University of the Free State, is the most successful team in the history of the Varsity Cup. Vishuis beat Patria (Pukke) in the 2016 final of the tournament.
Photo: SASPA
 

For Vishuis, it is about more than just rugby.

This is what Henco Posthumus, captain of House Abraham Fischer’s rugby team, had to say after his team was crowned the national Varsity Cup champions for an incredible fourth time. According to the flyhalf, the title of the leading residence team in the country is “special for the guys”.

Vishuis is the most successful residence team in the history of the tournament. Apart from their four titles, they have played in a total of five Varsity Cup finals.

On 11 April 2016, the residence from the University of the Free State (UFS) launched a great comeback in Stellenbosch to beat Patria (Pukke) by 37-29. This victory ensured that Vishuis was unbeaten in 2016.

Great fighting spirit


The Kovsies started off well against Patria, but were behind 16-29 shortly after break, and had to “delve deep”, according to Posthumus. “To be behind in this way is not what one would prefer. For some reason, we have been in similar situations before, and we know how to make a comeback,” he said.

“We looked one another in the eye and decided that we are not going to lose again in the final.” In last year’s final in Bloemfontein, when Posthumus played at fullback, Vishuis got stuck against Mopanie (Tuks) at the end of the match, and they wanted to prevent this from happening again.

Heymans a hero


According to the Vishuis captain, one of his team’s assistant coaches, Franco (Vaatjie) van der Merwe, spoke harshly to the players when they were behind. The victory was clinched in the dying moments, with the second try of scrumhalf, Ruben Heymans, when the score was 29 points each. Heymans was a star, and the well-deserved Man of the Match.

Posthumus said it is a great privilege to carry the title of Varsity Cup champions. His team has worked hard to reach the top.

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