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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

First-years at South Campus step into a bright future
2015-02-05

Photo: Stefan Lotter

This is the first step to a bright future.

This was the resounding message that welcomed first-year students to the South Campus. “Remember,” Tshegofatso Setilo, Manager of the University Preparation Programme said, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” But please do not get discouraged on your way, she urged, because “this is your first step to a bright future.

In his welcoming message, Prof Nicky Morgan, Vice-Rector: Operations at the UFS referred to the South Campus as the giant of the south. “This is one of the trailblazing campuses of the university,” he said. “No doubt what you’ll experience on this campus, you’ll never forget.”

This year, the South Campus boasts with 1 200 first-year students taking part in our University Preparation and Extended Programmes. These programmes allow students – whose matric marks did not reach the required total – the opportunity to study at the University of the Free State (UFS). The result? An astounding rise in pass rates. Some of the students on the South Campus outperform their peers studying at the Bloemfontein Campus, Prof Morgan remarked.

“You’ve got it in yourself. You’ve got the potential to unleash yourself on the world,” Prof Morgan said. You do not always realise the value of something that has come your way, he said. So, every moment you get an opportunity, he advised, use it to shape your future.

Addressing the newcomers’ fears, Prof Morgan urged each student to open themselves to the good and new experiences waiting for them. “When you find yourself in a new space, it always begins with you,” he said. Learn to understand how to live in harmony in different spaces.

Prof Morgan placed great emphasis on his closing remark: “At university, the more questions you seek to have answered – they’re worth more than the answers you have.”

 

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