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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 Head for the School of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology Education
2013-02-27

27 February 2013

Prof Sechaba Mahlomoholo from the Faculty of Education at the University of the Free State was recently appointed as Head of the School of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology Education (SMNSTE).

As head of the school, his duties will include improving the learning, teaching and curricula of maths, natural sciences and technology at school and at post-school levels.

“The solution seems to be to move the SMNSTE into a very intensive praxis mode where, through our high-level research-based classroom practices, we can formulate strategies together with teachers, parents, learners and the Department of Education, to enhance learner performance in the abovementioned subjects. Our plan, therefore, is to facilitate the establishment of closely knit learning communities of practice around these three subjects, with the SMNSTE being the epicentre of thought and action, while schools, mainly in the Free State, will serve as other nodal points for this intensive praxis. We believe that the SMNSTE will come to its fullness once student and learner performance is respectable, and as such positions our country favourably among the community of nations. SMNSTE is a national facility which has to respond to national challenges effectively.”

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