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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 researchers discover the many uses of the cactus pear
2015-02-17

UFS researchers discover the many uses of the cactus pear

For many South Africans, the dry, arid areas in many parts of the country became synonymous with cactus pear growing at random in the natural veld. For some the fruit of a cactus pear, if chilled really well, is a delicious snack on a hot summer’s day. But few actually know that these cacti can be money growing wild in the veld.

For the past 15 years, scientists  at the University of the Free State (UFS) have been looking into the benefits and many uses of the cactus pear. This project  has grown steadily in vision and dimension, and today the UFS is recognised as a world-leading institution in the world conducting multi-disciplinary research on spineless cactus pear.

Dr Maryna de Wit, from the Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology, together with Prof Wijnand Swart from the Department of Plant Sciences and Prof HO de Waal from the Department of Animal, Wildlife and Grassland Sciences, determined the nutritional and, more importantly, the commercial and viable uses of the cactus pear.

The aspect of human consumption is now giving the cactus pear the status of ‘superfood’.

Dr De Wit and her team have successfully made various products using either the cactus pear fruit, the cladode (also referred to as the leaf) and the mucilage (the sticky liquid  in the cladode).

Some of these products are:

  • flour for baking carrot cake, biscuits and health breads
  • jam, fruit juice and canned fruit
  • sweets – marshmallows and Turkish delight
  • stir-fry, salads and other cooked dishes.

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