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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 Council elects new Chairperson
2017-01-27

Description: Mr Willem Louw and Nthabeleng Rammile Tags: Mr Willem Louw and Nthabeleng Rammile

Mr Willem Louw, new Chairperson of the Council
of the University of the Free State, and Dr Nthabeleng
Rammile, new Vice-Chairperson.
Photo: Stephen Collett

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) elected Mr Willem Louw as the new Chairperson during a special meeting on Friday 20 January 2017. He was Vice-Chairperson of the Council since 13 March 2015. Dr Nthabeleng Rammile was elected Vice-Chairperson at the same meeting, making her the first woman in the history of the university elected to this position.

The election of Mr Louw comes after the announcement by Justice Ian van der Merwe at a Council meeting on 2 December 2016 that he will be stepping down as Chairperson on 31 December 2016.

Mr Louw has served on the Council since 11 September 2009 and was elected as member of the Executive Committee of the Council on 18 November 2011. He furthermore serves on the Council’s subcommittees for Audit and Risk Management, and Honorary Degrees.

In accepting his election as Chairperson, Mr Louw said that he appreciates the trust Council has bestowed on him. “It is a privilege and honour to lead Council and I look forward to the challenge. With the support of Dr Rammile and the rest of the Council, I endeavour to ensure that the university management is assisted in the governance of the university and that the Council plays its governance role fully at all times,” he said.

“The UFS is privileged to have Mr Louw and Dr Rammile leading its Council at such a crucial time in the South African higher-education sector. Their combined experience will be of great benefit to the university community,” said Prof Nicky Morgan, Acting Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS.

Mr Louw is an Associate of the Transnet Centre for Business Management of Projects at the University of Stellenbosch Business School and a non-executive Director of Group Five Limited. He was previously Managing Director of the technology business unit and a member of Group Management at Sasol, where he worked from 1985 until 2011. He is a member of the South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions and a Fellow of the South African Academy of Engineering. Mr Louw received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Civil Engineering from Stellenbosch University and his MDP (Management Development Programme in Project Management) from UNISA. He is currently enrolled for a PhD in Business Management and Administration at the University of Stellenbosch Business School.

Dr Rammile has served on the Council as representative of the religious communities since 1 January 2016. She is also member of the Council subcommittees for Audit and Risk Management, and Naming. She obtained a PhD in Brand Management at the UFS, where she also lectured in the Department of Business Management from 2003 to 2014. She is a pastor at Global Reconciliation, where she is responsible for women’s ministry, community outreach projects, and multimedia.

Mr Louw will serve as Chairperson of Council until 31 December 2018, and Dr Rammile will serve as Vice-Chairperson until 12 March 2018.

Released by:
Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Telephone: +27 51 401 2584 | +27 83 645 2454
Email: news@ufs.ac.za | loaderl@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27 51 444 6393

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