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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

Sello, Brits and Van Vuuren shine at Varsity athletics
2017-03-10

Description:Varsity athletics   Tags: Varsity athletics  longdesc=

Elmé Smith represented Kovsies in the 100 m
and 200 m at the Varsity athletics event in
Potchefstroom.
Photo: Mario van de Wall/SASPA

Jovan van Vuuren, Maryke Brits, and Tsepang Sello were our big stars at the first Varsity athletics event in Potchefstroom. They all finished first in their items and helped their Kovsies team claim an excellent overall third position among eight universities.

The jumps by Van Vuuren and Brits (both long jump) of 7.73 m and 6.11 m respectively were the longest, while Sello’s time in the 800 m was 2:12.01. Brits not only won the long jump, but was also second in the 100 m hurdles (13.65 s).

UFS outperform the likes of Maties, UJ

The Kovsies eventually bragged with three first, seven second, and two third spots on the podium. They ran, jumped and threw, bagging altogether 12 podium spots to accumulate 14 902 points (with an average of 993). Tuks, with 15 604 (1 040), and Pukke with 15 252 (1 017) was respectively first and second on 3 March 2017. Our team outperformed universities like the Maties and the University of Johannesburg.

Rynardt, Kesa claim second place

Big names such as Rynardt van Rensburg (800 m, second in 1:50.49) and Kesa Molotsane (1 500 m, second in 04:29.31) also scored podium spots. The second Varsity athletics meeting will take place in Pretoria on 31 March 2017.

Team results in Potch:

1. Tuks 15 604 (Top 15’s average: 1 040)
2. Puk 15 252 (1 017)
3. Kovsies 14 902 (993)
4. UJ 14857 (990)
5. Maties 14317 (954)
6. UWC 14068 (938)
7. Madibaz 13721 (915)
8. TUT 13463 (898)

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