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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

Cohesions and Disruptions Forum
2014-07-15

 
The Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice at the UFS and the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery, in partnership with the Vryfees, co-presented an artist and academic forum on 18 July 2014.

The forum, ‘Cohesions and Disruptions: Art as a Key to Transformation’, was aptly timed to coincide with Mandela Day. This event formed part of the transformation strategy of the Vryfees arts festival, aiming to support more diversity and cross-cultural, contemporary art programmes.

“Cohesions and Disruptions is part of the new Program for Innovation in Artform Development (PIKO/PIAD),” said Adri Herbert, Director of the Vryfees. “This includes both the cross-cultural OPENLab 2014, a new Australian/South African laboratory for early and mid-career South African artists, and a partnership with the Australian based SituateArt in Festivals initiative, managed by Salamanca Arts Centre in Hobart, Tasmania.”

The forum’s keynote speaker was Lee-Ann Tjunypa Buckskin. She is a Narungga, Wirangu, Wotjobaluk woman from South Australia and Victoria respectively. She is well known throughout the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands and broader arts communities. Buckskin’s presentation was titled ‘Building Young Indigenous People’s Lives through Art and Culture in Remote Central Australia.’

Buckskin spoke broadly about her involvement with youngsters – often poverty stricken and sniffing petrol – in remote areas of Australia. She explained how the arts have given the youth a chance at rehabilitation and hope for the future.

After her presentation, she was joined by Dr Willy Nel, lecturer at the UFS School of Education Studies. Dr Nel completed his PhD among the Khomani San in the Kalahari. 

Other forum speakers who presented their work included:
Dr Mari Velonaki, Director of the Centre for Social Robotics at the National Institute for Experimental Art at the University of New South Wales, Sydney;
Dr Nigel Helyer of Sonic Objects; Sonic Architecture, Sydney;
Bec Dean, Curator at Performance Space, Sydney;
Jesse Olivieri, co-founder of Parachutes for Ladies in Sydney; and
Cigdem Aydemir, Vryfees visual artist for 2014.

“Given the histories and present experiences of human rights violations and racial discrimination that indigenous people in Australia and South Africa are subjected to, we are particularly honoured to have Lee-Ann (Buckskin) as a guest speaker,” said Prof Andre Keet, Director of the UFS Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice. 


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