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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

UFS hosts international conference on palynology - tribute to Prof Louis Scott
2014-07-23

 

Prof Louis Scott

Some of the world’s eminent palaeontologists and palynologists gathered at the University of the Free State (UFS) to attend a conference held in the honour of one of our own.

Prof Louis Scott, one of South Africa’s leading palynologists and former chairman of the Department of Plant Sciences at the UFS, recently retired. In recognition of his great contribution to promoting palynology, an international symposium was held from 7 – 11 July 2014 at the Bloemfontein Campus.

Palynology is the study of pollen grains and spores in archaeological findings.

The symposium, ‘From Past to Present – Changing Climates, Ecosystems and Environments of Arid Southern Africa. A Tribute to Louis Scott’, featured the works and findings of researchers from South Africa, USA, UK, Israel and Tanzania.

Prof Francis Thackeray from the Institute of Human Evolution at the University of the Witwatersrand delivered the keynote address. He said South Africa has a rich palaeontological heritage relating to human evolution within the late Pliocene, Pleistocene and Holocene.

Prof Thackeray said that the “identification and quantification of changes in climate and habitat are essential for assessing evolutionary processes associated with hominine species in the genera Australopithecus, Paranthropus and Homo. Attempts have been made to quantify changes in palaeotemperature and moisture using multivariate analysis of pollen spectra from sites such as Wonderkrater.”

Prof Thackeray dedicated his address to Prof Scott.

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