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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

Twenty years of human rights - a call for reflection on the successes and challenges
2015-02-25

Back from the left are: Advocate Mohamed Shafie Ameermia, Commissioner, South African Human Rights Commission
Advocate Lawrence Mushwana, Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission
 
Front from the left are: Honourable Mahube Molemela, Judge President of the Free State High court and Acting judge of the Constitutional Court of South
Dr Choice Makhetha, Vice-Rector External Relations, University of the Free State
Prof Caroline Nicholson, Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of the Free State

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), the Faculty of Law, and the Free State Department of Education hosted a gala dinner on 19 February 2015 to celebrate the launching of the Free State Provincial Division of the SAHRC, reaffirming their collaborative partnership, and confirming the commitment of the Free State Department of Education to community engagement, constitutional rights awareness, and youth advocacy.

The number of human rights abuses reported to the Human Rights Commission in recent years points to the complex nature of the challenges faced by South African communities. What is most disturbing is that the overwhelming majority of these offences are perpetrated by the youth, said Adv Lawrence Moshwana, Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission.  “The Human Rights Commission is in need of support from government in order to be able to reach all provinces of South Africa”. The expansion of the commission’s services in the Free State and its partnership with the Provincial Department of Education is a great step towards protecting the rights of the most vulnerable communities.

 

Twenty years of human rights (read the full story)

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