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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

Kovsie Dux student seeks to help farmers through her research
2017-10-24

Description: Dux student Tags: Kovsie Dux student, Chéri-Lynn Steyn, Research Assistant, Wag-'n-Bietjie, Animal Science & Agricultural Economics 

Chéri-Lynn Steyn, the Kovsie Dux student for 2016/2017,
likes going on game drives in the Kruger National Park
and taking photographs of birds with her brothers.
Photo: Jóhann Thormählen


From failing her first test at university to becoming the Kovsie Dux; from being a first-year in a tutor class to becoming a tutor   these are snippets from Chéri-Lynn Steyn’s journey at the University of the Free State (UFS).

Although she was not accepted into Medical School to pursue her childhood dream of studying Medicine, she has never looked back and now wants to guide farmers on how to be more efficient and sustainable.

Steyn, who studies BScAgric Animal Science and Agricultural Economics, was crowned the Kovsie Dux Student for 2016/2017. The award recognises and rewards the top-performing and all-round brilliant student. The criteria are a high academic average, coupled with excellent participation and excellence in extra-curricular activities like Community Service, Culture, Leadership and Sports.

Overcoming obstacles a highlight
The Research Assistant at Agricultural Economics says she cannot believe she is the winner. After three years at university, her CV includes 29 modules and 29 distinctions, but she is a well-balanced individual. She has been on the Agricultural Committee, First-Years Committee at Wag-'n-Bietjie residence, a class representative, is an interprovincial hockey umpire, and has cycled the Cape Town Cycle Tour and Telkom 94.7 Cycle Challenge.

Steyn recently looked back at her UFS journey: “From a layman who knew nothing about the agricultural industry, to someone who is able to understand and join in conversations about the industry,” she says. “My personal highlights are those small significant moments of overcoming obstacles.”

Effort less when you love what you do
She says her success is through grace and the Lord’s strength. “I endeavour to never compare myself to others, but set the standard against myself. This enables me to push myself harder and further than I did previously.”

Steyn also feels that when you love what you do, putting in a lot of effort is no effort at all. “My big dream is to be able to help farmers on a large scale through the research I do.”

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