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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

Highlights of South Campus
2017-01-18

Description: ACT online South Campus Tags: ACT online South Campus

Description: South Campus new residence Tags: South Campus new residence

Description: South Campus supplementary school Tags: South Campus supplementary school

We look back on 2016 to pick out the outstanding achievements of our three campuses. Here is a selection of headlines from the South Campus.

Fully online Advanced Certificate in Teaching (ACT)

In July 2016, the South Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS) became the first in South Africa to introduce an online platform for teachers to obtain the Advanced Certificate in Teaching (ACT). This unique platform, entirely online, provides teachers the opportunity to complete these certificates faster than before.

First residence for UFS South Campus
In the second semester of 2016, a new residence, named Legae, was opened on the South Campus, with 146 double rooms and 17 kitchens. The new residence accommodates 250 undergraduate and 20 postgraduate students and has 270 beds, 20 single-bedroom flats, 12 additional single rooms, as well as eight laundry rooms and a drying area. Since the UFS strives to cater for differently-abled people, this residence has two rooms available on the ground floor of Block C for differently-abled students.

The residence is also the first at the university that has a grey-water system installed. This water will then be reused for toilet flushing as well as for irrigation purposes on the campus.

South Campus supplementary schools foster future Kovsies
The Monyetla Bursary Project, in partnership with the UFS and other sponsors, presents an annual Winter School for Grade 12 learners on the South Campus. In addition, a Saturday school for Grade 12s has been in operation since 2007.

“Champion teachers in the district assist learners”

Each Saturday, 650 learners attend the classes. Chris Grobler, a science teacher at Navalsig High School in Bloemfontein, who organises both schools, says: “The 1 200 learners at the Winter School came not only from the Free State but from as far as the North West province, Gauteng, and Eastern Cape. We are very pleased about this, as it means that the image of the UFS is being carried further afield.”

A special feature included in this year’s programme was interpreting services in South African Sign Language (SASL) for deaf students.

 

 

 

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