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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

New generation must take South Africa into the Promised Land
2012-07-23

 

Prof. Somadoda Fikeni talks about Reconciliation and Social Justice on Nelson Mandela Day.
Photo: Johan Roux
18 July 2012

 

Former President Nelson Mandela was part of the Moses generation that took people out of bondage. What the country now needs is the Joshua generation that will take it into the promise land.

This is according to political analyst and public commentator, Prof. Somadoda Fikeni. He was speaking to staff and students participating in the Global Leadership Summit, which took place on the Bloemfontein Campus from 8-20 July 2012. Prof. Fikeni took part in a panel discussion on Justice and Reconciliation. He and other panellists observed that there were still many challenges facing reconciliation in South Africa.

Referring to controversial statements made by Helen Zille, Julius Malema and Pieter Mulder, Prof. Fikeni said public discourse had become toxic and that the country was faced by a leadership crisis.

Ms Yasmin Sooka, a former Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights South Africa, asked if reconciliation had not come at the expense of redress. She said that to date there had been no restitution.

Ms Lihlumelo Toyana, a post-graduate student at the university, was also part of the panel. She told the audience that 18 years into democracy, there are still people waiting for justice. Toyana said young people hoped to see change and wondered if South Africans would ever sit down and have dialogue about the past. “We need closure; we need to take the country forward.”

The other panelists were lawyer, politician and former Human Rights Commissioner Prof. Leon Wessels; a professor from the University of Cape Town’s Law Faculty, Prof. Jaco Barnard-Naude; and psychologist, Prof. Alain Tschudin.
 

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