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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

Five Kovsies take part in exclusive Summer School in Groningen
2012-07-25

Michael van Niekerk, Christiaan Nel and Carika Stols participated in the School for Neurosciences.
26 July 2012

For five students from the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Free State, the winter holidays were no time to rest; they attended a summer school for medical students in Groningen in The Netherlands.

Michael van Niekerk, Marcel Nel, Henk Kruger, Christiaan Nel and Carika Stols are all undergraduate medical students who expanded their skills and knowledge during the summer school.

The University of Groningen’s Medical School offers an annual Summer School Programme at the University Medical Centre in Groningen.

It is the largest hospital in the province of Groningen in The Netherlands and offers highly specialised health services to The Netherlands and to the northern parts of Germany.

Hordes of students from around the world annually apply for attendance of the school. A panel invites eligible candidates from the applications to participate in the school. The students are then divided into four different schools, namely Paediatrics, Neurosciences, Global Health and Oncology.

“Besides acquiring better skills and knowledge, the schools also provide us the opportunity to exchange experience and knowledge with participants from other countries. We had regular conversations with students from Korea, Indonesia, Mexico, Brasilia, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Egypt, Belgium, Italy and Spain, on the difference between the medical systems and cultures of the various countries,” says Henk Kruger, who, together with Marcel Nel, participated in the School for Paediatrics.

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