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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

Tough future if nothing changes in Africa
2015-02-20

 

The Department of Political Studies and Governance at the UFS recently hosted a workshop with the Osaka School for International Public Policy and the Southern African Centre for Collaboration in Peace and Security Studies.

The workshop, which was held on Thursday 12 February, had the theme of Perspectives on African Peace and Security. During workshop sessions, thoughts and views on peace and security were discussed for both African and South African circumstances. This was the fourth year of this joint workshop at the UFS.

Prof Hussein Solomon from the Department of Political Studies and Governance at the UFS shared some notes:

“In terms of South Africa, the fact that only 11% of South Africans have a post-school education holds negative prospects for us attaining a so-called ‘knowledge economy’”, says Prof Solomon.

“This also means that unemployment will continue to remain high since, in certain key areas, the South African economy is quite sophisticated, and needs a sophisticated labour force. Therefore, high unemployment translates into further social unrest, especially if one considers that youth unemployment is approaching 50%.”
 
Moving to broader issues in Africa, Solomon states that governance remains a challenge.

“There is a need to move away from Eurocentric forms of governance to more hybrid forms, implementing a mix of western forms of governance alongside more traditional forms.”

“Otherwise, the probability of conflict remains high as we look into the future. The possibility of water wars between African states is distinct.”

“Terrorism too will be with us for some time to come, with three terrorist attacks per day in Africa. Making matters worse, whether it is conflict over water or terrorist atrocities, is the African Union’s inability to resolve these issues. It simply does not have the capacity”, says Solomon.

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