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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

New champions crowned at first-year athletics
2017-02-03

Description:UFS first-year athletics  Tags: UFS first-year athletics  longdesc=

It was a day filled with excitement on and off the
track when the residences at the University of
the Free State competed against each other
during the first-year athletics event.
Photo: Charl Devenish

The University of the Free State’s first-year athletics is an institution. It is a day marked by colour, spirit, and hoarse voices, but in 2017 produced something different than the last couple of years.

For the first time in four years, new athletics champions were crowned in both the men’s and women’s sections when Veritas and Sonnedou walked away with the trophies at Pellies Park on the Bloemfontein Campus on 25 January 2017.

Wag-’n-Bietjie, Vishuis relinquish titles

Sonnedou, who came second in 2016, broke Wag-’n-Bietjie’s stronghold of the past six years by winning the women’s athletics trophy. Furthermore, Sonnedou won this trophy more than a decade ago – in 2004. Veritas, who won the men’s athletics trophy for the first time since 2011, also put a stop to Vishuis’s dominance. House Abraham Fischer has worn the athletics crown for the past three years.

This year, Vishuis (70 points) took second place after Veritas (76), with Armentum (61) third. Sonnedou (99 points) easily triumphed in the women’s division, while Akasia (36) and Wag-?-Bietjie (34) respectively took second and third place.

Veritas captures overall Spirit trophy

However, the event is about much more than the action on and around the athletics track. First-years also get the opportunity to show pride in their residences by shouting at the top of their lungs.

Veritas, better-known in recent years for its excellent sêr groups, asserted itself even more by being named as the overall winner of the Spirit trophy. This residence was also the winner of the men’s section. Harmony won the Spirit trophy for women’s residences, while Conlaurês was the co-ed residence with the greatest spirit.

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