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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

Predation Management Centre helps stock farmers to address predator problem
2017-03-29

Description: Predation Management Centre  Tags: Predation Management Centre

Predators, including caracal and foxes, are costing the
livestock industry about R2 billion annually. The
Predation Management Information Centre was
established to collect, analyse, and make information
available on predation and predation management to
stock and game farmers.
Photo: Pixabay

Predators are costing the livestock industry about R2 billion annually. To address the problem, the Department of Animal, Wildlife and Grassland Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS) teamed up with the Predation Management Forum (PMF).

Predation Management Information Centre established
The UFS has signed service agreements for the establishment of a Predation Management Information Centre with the four industries (wool, mohair, red meat, and game industries) forming part of the PMF. The centre will collect and analyse information on predation and predation management. This information will then be made available in a management information system and information contained in the system will be made available to all users.

Centre makes essential information available
At the information centre, a team of dedicated staff members handles calls and enquiries. Experts in the team are also available to provide advice to farmers. Furthermore, the centre is responsible for the management of information and resources. Relevant policy documents and scientific articles will be stored in an archive at the centre which will also collect research, statistics, biometric information, and information on new research topics.

The information that is collected will be used to assist farmers with predation management. Information on methods which are effective in a specific situation will be made available to farmers in order to help reduce predation on their farms. “By focusing on non-lethal methods in predation management, best practices can be compiled in order to restrict losses attributed to predation to the minimum,” says Quinette Kruger from the information centre.

Contact details for authorities and specialists managing damage-causing animals will also be provided by the centre.

The information centre invites stock farmers, game farmers, the general public, retail, authorities, and other stakeholders to contact the centre at +27 51 401 2210 or PredationMC@ufs.ac.za.

Read more about the ALPRU project.


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