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24 May 2019 | Story Eloise Calitz | Photo Charl Devenish
Gangster book Discussion
From left: Jacques van Wyk from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) Cathy Dlodlo, news editor from OFM; Pieter Roux from the UFS Business School; Alta Vermeulen from the UFS Department of Political Studies and Governance and Pieter-Louis Myburgh, author

A packed Odeion Auditorium at the University of the Free State was welcomed by Professor Helena van Zyl, Head of the UFS Business School. The reason being, a panel discussion with award-winning investigative reporter and author, Pieter-Louis Myburgh, on his much-publicised book Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule's Web of Capture. The programme took the form of a panel discussion. The panellists included Pieter-Louis Myburgh, author; Jacques van Wyk from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE); Cathy Dlodlo, news editor from OFM; Alta Vermeulen from the UFS Department of Political Studies and Governance; and Pieter Roux from the UFS Business School.

In his introduction, Myburgh said he was happy that he was able to come to Bloemfontein and have the discussion, since South Africans should cherish freedom of speech and a free press.

The research for the book took 13 months to conclude, and during this time he spent a lot of time in the Free State and Bloemfontein. He mentioned that the book gave him the opportunity to present a condensed account of what he discovered; he could therefore share more, as opposed to just reporting on a story in the newspaper. For him, investigative reporting should always be fact based and open to scrutiny.

Some of the topics raised by the panel was concern about the perception that investigative journalists are focusing more on corruption in the public sector and less on the private sector. This was, however, discarded as a myth, as Myburgh pointed out that he exposed both private and public sector dealings in order to provide the full scope of involved parties.

Focusing on whistle blowers, the panel challenged the verification of whistle-blower information. Myburgh responded that journalists never use only one whistle-blower’s evidence, since that is merely the start of the investigation. Further investigation was necessary, and facts had to be verified. With that said, there is still a lot to be done with regard to the protection of whistle-blowers, he concluded.

The floor was opened to the audience, which provided the opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns about what was mentioned during the panel discussion. The audience eagerly participated in the discussion. In conclusion, Myburgh reiterated that society plays a vital role in keeping those in power to the promises they make.

After the discussion, the audience had the opportunity to have their books signed by the author.

News Archive

UFS hosts YSI for first conference of its kind in Africa
2017-06-13

Description: UFS hosts YSI  Tags: UFS hosts YSI

From the left: Bryson Nkhoma, a doctoral student from
the International Studies Group, Prof Francis Petersen,
Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, and
Dr Tinashe Nyamunda, a postdoctoral fellow from the
International Studies Group.
Photo: Siobhan Canavan

In the first conference of its kind on the African continent, the University of the Free State’s Bloemfontein Campus was privileged to host the Young Scholars Initiative (YSI) conference.

Reflecting on the African experience

A total of 65 young and senior scholars from five continents attended the conference Decolonising Africa? The Economic History of Development, hosted by the YSI in partnership with the International Studies Group at the UFS.

The conference, held on 8 and 9 June 2017, provided an opportunity to reflect on the African experience from an historical perspective and to assess the current position of the continent in the global economy. It discussed new themes in development, such as the role of women, minorities and entrepreneurs.

The conference focused on how the business community has operated in an Africa that still faces inequalities and unfair terms of trade and lacks a unified political will.

Keynote speakers at conference

Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, said decolonisation was not self-explanatory. “In its radical form, decolonisation presents two polar opposites. On the one side is white privilege and on the other is black pain.”

Prof Ian Phimister, Senior Research Professor at the Centre for Africa Studies at the UFS presented the opening keynote address entitled International Imperialism: The Violent Making of Southern Africa, 1884-1914.

Other keynote speakers included Prof Sabelo Ndlovu Gatsheni from the University of Pretoria, Prof Gareth Austin from the University of Cambridge, and the closing keynote by Prof Alois Mlambo from the University of Pretoria.

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