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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

Tactile paving assists visually impaired
2017-10-28

Description: ' 000 Blind Tactile Paving Tags: Blind Tactile Paving

Tactile paving is being installed at pedestrian crossings to assist
visually-impaired persons at the UFS.
Photo: Supplied

Crossing roads and accessing buildings has always been a challenge for people with visual impairments. They had to rely on peripheral sounds, such as car brakes and cues. However, after the installation of tactile paving – paving with special textures assisting the visually impaired to feel the difference between walking around on campus and crossing the road, this will no longer be a problem at the University of the Free State (UFS).

This is one of several developments that University Estates’ Department of Facilities Planning has in the pipeline for 2017 in order to ensure that the university attains its key component in providing a high-quality student experience.

Maureen Khati, Assistant Director of Project Management: Facilities Planning, says, “We saw the need to install these paving blocks in strategic spaces, as identified by the Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS).” She says these blocks will make it easier for people with visual impairments.

Special features designed to aid visually-impaired persons

These installations have special features that will assist those students and employees with limited vision or blindness to navigate through pedestrian crossings and the different campus buildings. The university chose a unique design of tactile paving that focuses on warning and directing those with visual impairments.

UFS eager to improve accessibility and mobility

The university, and all the stakeholders involved in this initiative, are delighted to be embarking on this project and are looking forward to its successful execution. To improve accessibility and mobility, more accessible entrances and exits will be built, effective signage will be installed inside and outside buildings, but the most important aspect is that dedicated seating space will be made available in lecture rooms for special-needs students.

Khati says, “More focus has been put on installing ramps in all buildings to make them more accessible for people with disabilities, as well as other needs required to enhance accessibility at the UFS.”

For the UFS, this initiative is one of many to come, as extensive research is being done and priorities are implemented accordingly.

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