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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

Kovsies defend tennis title in Sun City
2017-04-01

 Description: 'Kovsie Tennis Sun City Tags: Kovsie Tennis Sun City

The first and second tennis teams of the University of the
Free State 
were first and fifth respectively among the 14
teams competing 
in the Egalite Invitational challenge.
Photo: Arne Nel

Although a tournament victory was not the Kovsie tennis team’s main goal, they still managed to outplay the best in the country.

The first team of the University of the Free State (UFS), who have been the champions of the combined USSA format for the past six years, successfully defended its title to end the Egalite Invitational challenge in Sun City unbeaten.

Second team also performing well

On 26 March 2017, the Kovsie first team defeated Puk’s first team 35-20 (games) in the final. Their second team also performed well and won against Tuks’ second team 31-21 to end fifth among the 14 teams. The matches in the tournament, which took place from 24 to 26 March 2017, were played in World Team Tennis format.

In the group stages, the Kovsie first team beat Puk’s second (35-12), Puk’s fourth (35-8), Tuks’ second (35-12), Maties’ first (31-19), Puk’s sixth (35-5), and Tuks’ third (32-16) teams. The team consists of Arne Nel, Christo Koekemoer, Emke Kruger, Lienke de Kock, Ansunica Brits, and Reze Opperman.

Preparation for USSA

Apart from USSA, the Sun City tournament is the other major tournament in which the UFS annually competes. “Of course you want to win, but unlike at USSA, this was not our main focus in Sun City,” says Janine de Kock, the Kovsie team manager. “We wanted to try new combinations and provide exposure to new players.”

A total of five of the 12 players in the two teams were newcomers. They are Lienke de Kock (first team), Handré Hoffman, JC Conradie, Brieta Pienaar, and Daniel de Villiers (all second team). According to Janine de Kock, it was especially important to test new doubles combinations before USSA.

“We always knew the first team is a good team with a chance, but we are very impressed with the second team’s fifth place.”

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