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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

University Assembly focuses on symbols, policies, practices, and curricula
2015-04-30

On Tuesday 28 April 2015, the University of the Free State (UFS) held a University Assembly in the Callie Human Centre on the Bloemfontein Campus, which served as a space for critical engagement among staff and students to focus on issues such as symbols, policies, practices, and curricula.

The Assembly, attended by executive and senior management, members of the UFS Council and the President of the UFS Convocation, was also streamed live to the Qwaqwa and South Campuses.

The aim of the Assembly was to deal with above-mentioned issues as transformative strategies for creating a university culture that supports its Human and Academic Projects, as embedded in responsible citizenship, human dignity, and democratic participation.

In light of inclusivity, all staff and students were invited to table their views and submit it for discussion at the assembly, to be forwarded later as recommendations to the various decision-making structures of the UFS.

A total of 12 submissions were made at the Assembly. These submissions focused on the following issues:

• The Transformative power of sport at the UFS
• Four submissions on Language Policy – whether to include other languages or going onward to be an all English institution.
• Curriculum: Substance of what we teach
• Experiences of our first-years
• Four submissions on: Statues and symbols
• The Student Representative Council’s (SRC’s) responsibility and structure.

The UFS Management considers the above-mentioned submissions, as well as the University Assembly of 28 April 2015, as the beginning of a comprehensive process to stimulate discourse about these issues on various platforms of the university.

The discussions are in an early stage and no decisions have been taken yet. Final recommendations on the issues will be submitted to the normal decision-making structures of the university, such as the Rectorate, Senate, and Institutional Forum, after which it will ultimately be presented to the UFS Council for approval.

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