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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

UFS researcher explores the future cost of cancer
2017-01-10

 Description: 001 Dr Alicia Sherriff Tags: 001 Dr Alicia Sherriff

Dr Alicia Sherriff, Head the Department of Oncology
at the UFS Faculty of Health Sciences, co-authored
an article in the South African Medical Journal.

Photo: Charl Devenish

Cancer is on an exponential rise globally, and the cost of treatment is a growing international problem. South Africa alone is expected to see a 78% increase in cancer cases. Dr Alicia Sheriff, Head of the Department of Oncology, collaborated on and co-authored a research paper for the South African Medical Journal on the future of oncology treatment in the country, along with doctors from various universities across South Africa. The article, titled "The future cost of cancer: interdisciplinary cost management strategy", looks at the prognosis of cancer management in the country.

Cancer is on the rise

There is a visible growth of the cancer disease in the developing world. Rapidly changing lifestyles, uncontrolled urbanisation, pollution, and population ageing are some dynamics that provide a lethal cocktail of infectious and lifestyle risk factors that leave people at a higher risk of developing cancer.

The simultaneous increase in cancer incidence has increased the cost of treatment exponentially. The cost of cancer treatment is multitiered, making the provision of care for cancer patients a high-risk business. A combination of treatment delays, limited resources, differently skilled personnel, high patient volumes and advanced disease stage on presentation all place a bigger burden on the delivery of optimal cancer care outcomes.

Adoption of new strategies

According to the doctors, innovative thinking to embrace technology, combined with a preventive approach, as well as lowering the cost of treatment drugs should be prioritised. So should the commercialisation of new technologies that will diagnose and treat cancer in its early stages. They also encourage interdisciplinary research funding in South Africa as a way to better understand the demographic and molecular dynamics of cancer in the country, along with retaining more oncologists in the public health sector.

Efficient solutions to curb cancer mortality

The doctors assert there is a need to continue to look for more efficient measures to best treat the disease, and hopefully bring about a change in mortality levels in South Africa.

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