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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

Music lecturer’s innovative app is a first in South Africa
2014-07-24

Dr Frelét de Villiers, lecturer at the Odeion School of Music (OSM) at the University of the Free State (UFS), is in the process of developing an innovative interactive mobile music application – Notes&Fun.

Notes&Fun is being designed to assist aspirant pianists. It will support beginners with notation and rhythmic patterns.

The app will display single notes, phrases or rhythmical patterns on the phone or tablet and then apply the built-in microphone to measure the frequency of the notes played on the piano itself. It will indicate whether you’ve played correctly, or if you have made a mistake, the correct note will be displayed. Notes&Fun consists of multiple levels, each with a practise and test mode that gradually increases in difficulty and complexity. As opposed to existing apps, Notes&Fun is conceptualised with immediate pitch detection and is applied with a real (acoustic) piano.

For the pilot phase of this initiative, the developing company Maxxor in Cape Town will create a demo app which can be downloaded for testing purposes and general feedback. Once the developing company and innovator are satisfied with the first phase, the product will be marketed vigorously on social media. The initial app will be free, but subsequent levels will need to be purchased. The developers will start a Facebook page where users of the app can add their latest scores and compete with other users. Initially the app will only be available on the Google Play Store due to the fact that more people own Android devices than Apple products. Once the product has proven to be financially viable, the developers will adapt it for the Mac App Store as well.

“The beauty of this app is that music has a universal language, so it can be marketed internationally and I am privileged to have the institutional support from the UFS Technology Unit regarding the judicial process and developing process of the product,” Dr De Villiers said.

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