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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

The beginning of the person you want to be
2015-02-03

Photo: Supplied

“The University of the Free State is a caring community where everybody counts.” With this message, Dr Choice Makhetha, Vice-Rector: External Relations welcomed our first-years on the Qwaqwa Campus.

“Whether you are a first-year or a senior student, whether you are a cleaner or a research professor, we all have one thing in common: our humanity,” Dr Makhetha said.

“This is the stage where you are going to shape the person you want to be,” Dr Makhetha said to the audience of eager first-year students who had already spent a week undergoing a rigorous Gateway Orientation programme.

“A lot of things will happen during your stay here and one of them is making friends. Make friends with people from outside your comfort zone,” Dr Makhetha added. “Make friends with those who have a totally different background from yours so that you can learn, broaden and enrich your life.”

“Read broadly and ask questions – for questions will take you far beyond your area of study,” she said.

Zethu Mhlongo, Deputy President of the Qwaqwa Campus Student Representative Council (SRC) encouraged first-years to always remember why they chose our university in the first place.

“Enjoy your stay, get your degree and step up for success,” Mhlongo said.

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