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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

Forensic investigation at UFS Computer Services division in final stage of finalisation
2007-02-01

Statement by prof Niel Viljoen, Chief Director: Operations  
 
The case in which possible irregularities were investigated at the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Computer Services Division at the end of 2005, and which led to two Deputy Directors’ compulsory leave pending an investigation, is making good progress and is in the final stage of finalisation.
 
One of the Deputy Directors resigned unconditionally a day before his disciplinary hearing was to take place. He is one of two staff members who were placed on compulsory leave after an internal investigation ordered by the UFS management indicated possible irregularities in the division.
 
“As a result of the extent of the case and the involvement of more than one local business, the investigation had a long course,” said Prof Viljoen.
 
“The Deputy Director who resigned would have appeared before a disciplinary committee with Judge Joos Hefer as chairperson on charges of misconduct, involving more than R500 000,” said Prof Viljoen.
 
“We are going ahead with the process of criminal prosecution against this person and a docket was opened at the commerce branch of the South African Police Services (SAPS).  A civil action to recover damages from him was started,” Prof Viljoen said.
 
With a couple of exceptions, the internal disciplinary process of the other persons involved in the case is also finalised. “The disciplinary hearing of the Deputy Director, who is still in the service of the UFS’s Computer Services division, is scheduled for May 2007. This person is still on compulsory leave,” Prof Viljoen said.
 
“To demonstrate our commitment to the enhancement of honest work ethics and to give to personnel and students a mechanism to bring any unethical business practices to the attention of the UFS management, a fraud hotline was installed last year. The hotline is operated 24 hours a day for 365 days of the year by KPMG,” Prof Viljoen said.
 
Prof Viljoen thanked everyone who was involved in the investigation for their cooperation. This includes staff as well as people from outside the UFS.  “We are committed to transparent corporate management. Any possible irregularities will be investigated and if staff or students are found guilty of any irregular behaviour, strict actions would be taken against these persons,” Prof Viljoen said.
 
Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: (051) 401-2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl@mail.ufs.ac.za
2 February 2007
 

 

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