UFS students to return to Pelonomi tomorrow

From Left: Acting HOD of the School of Nursing, Dr Annali Fichardt, Vice chancellor and rector, Francis Petersen and Head of the school of clinical medicine, Prof Nathaniel Mofolo. Photo: Sazly Hartzenberg

All students will be returning to Pelonomi Hospital to continue their training tomorrow. This according to UFS rector and vice-chancellor, Prof. Francis Petersen. At a media briefing this afternoon, Prof. Petersen said that they will be implementing immediate, medium-term as well as long-term security plans to ensure the safety of their students, as well as everyone at the hospital. He said that the UFS has been engaging with the provincial department to find a plan that will benefit everyone.

Petersen said even though the immediate and medium-term security plan will not be complete in a day or even a week, this plan will include things that will be visible to students, such as fixing security locks, more CCTV footage that will cover a broader space, securing the fence outside and lighting. He also said that because of the vast premises and various access points of the hospital, there will also be limited access to the hospital.

According to Prof. Petersen they have engaged with medical students this morning and even though there are concerns, the students can see that the UFS is doing visible interventions and they are feeling are more comfortable.

“We are also keeping communication open. If there is anyone who is feeling uneasy, please speak to the faculty,” he added.

He explained that the students are receiving trauma counselling and the UFS will continue to offer this to their students.

The Department of Health spokesperson, Mondli Mvambi, told Bloemfontein Courant that they are looking into the students’ needs, as some of them have raised the idea of panic buttons and that is something the department is looking into. He said that, in terms of armed security, that is something that the Minister of Police needs to approve but it is definitely something that they are looking into.

Sazly Hartzenberg