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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 finances are fundamentally sound
2007-12-01

The finances of the University of the Free State (UFS) remain fundamentally sound and a higher than expected surplus of about R26 million was achieved in the 2007 budget.

This announcement was made last week during the last meeting of the UFS Council by Prof. Frederick Fourie, Rector and Vice-Chancellor.

“Up to now, we could finance the considerable investments in the infrastructure from discretionary funds, in spite of the fact that Council granted us permission during 2005/06 to take up a loan of R50 million for this purpose,” said Prof. Fourie.

The higher than expected surplus of about R26 million will be used among other things for the financing of infrastructure in order to further postpone the taking up of a loan.

In support of the drive to reposition the UFS nationally as a university that is successfully integrating excellence and diversity, R5 million will be made available from the surplus for this purpose.

The Council also approved the following allocations for 2008 for the key strategic pillars of a good practice budget for the university:

Information sources: R21,1 million
IT infrastructure: R3,5 million
Replacing expensive equipment: R7,05 million
Research: R18,1 million
Capital expenditure: R28,2 million
Maintenance capital assets: R18,2 million
Reserves: R6,3 million
Personal computers for the computer laboratory: R3,5 million

For the Qwaqwa Campus R2,5 million has been set aside for these issues.

In terms of strategic priorities R8 million was allocated for the academic clusters, R2 million for equitability, diversity and redress and R6 million for equity.

The projected income for 2008 will be R849 million, while the projected expenditure, excluding transfers, will be R694 million.

“Council further approved that discretionary strategic funds be largely voted to the further upgrading of the physical infrastructure, especially the Chemistry Building, the computer laboratory building, examination venues and the Joolkol,” said Prof. Fourie.

According to Prof. Fourie, funds have been reserved for the development of the academic clusters, as well as the continuation and acceleration of the transformation programme of the UFS.

“We have also managed to revise the conditions of employment of contract appointments and align it with the latest labour practices. The phasing in of the fringe benefits of this specific group of staff members will commence in 2008,” said Prof. Fourie.

Given the dependence of the income of the UFS on student numbers, a task team was formed last year to investigate the continued financial sustainability of the UFS. The core of this task team’s recommendations is:

to increase the third income stream by using the academic clusters as the main strategy; and to apply strategies such as the recruitment and extension of the postgraduate and foreign student corps, increase the income from donations and fundraising, etc.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za
30 November 2007
 

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