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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

Vishuis secure fifth Varsity Cup title and seventh for UFS
2017-04-21

Description: Vishuis Varsity Cup Tags: Vishuis Varsity Cup

Wian van der Watt scored a try for Vishuis
during the Koshuis final of the Varsity Cup
against Patria. The centre was also crowned
Player of the Tournament in the residence
league.
Photo: Christiaan Kotze/SASPA


The right attitude, a special group of players, and pride to represent their residence. According to Stephen Botha, Vishuis rugby captain, these were the ingredients for his team’s Varsity Cup success as they claimed a fifth national title.

The residence on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS) was crowned Koshuis Champions of the Varsity Cup for a second consecutive year. In a repeat of last year’s final, they beat Patria from Pukke (25-10) on 17 April 2017 in Pretoria.
    
University continues national supremacy
Abraham Fischer not only staked its claim again as the most successful residence rugby team in South Africa, but also continued the supremacy of the UFS. The university has been national champions seven out of the ten years of the tournament. Armentum and Legatum were also champions.

“I always say that whoever wins the final of the residence league here, will probably win the Varsity Cup,” Botha says.

Team prepared for finals rugby
He attributes the success to his team’s positive attitude. “Even when we were doing fitness, the guys never complained and never asked how much more we have to do. They just did it."

“I always say that whoever
wins the final of the residence
league here, will probably win
the Varsity Cup,” Botha says.

Vishuis never seemed under too much pressure in the final. Their forwards laid a solid foundation, having the upper hand in the scrums, line-outs, and driving mauls. Although Vishuis is renowned for running rugby, Botha says his team prepared for finals rugby. “We decided to stick to the basics and not to play too risky.”

However, they lost their last league match against Sonop from Tukkies (21-23). Botha agrees that it might have been the right thing before the final. “Like I always say: ‘Every setback is a set up for a great comeback’”.

•    Vishuis centre Wian van der Watt was chosen as the Koshuis Player of the Tournament, while two Shimla flankers, Daniel Maartens and Phumzile Maqondwana, were included in the Varsity Cup Dream Team.

 

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