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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

New infrastructure development project planned for the Bloemfontein Campus
2015-06-03

Illustration by Incline Architects

The university community can look forward to two new infrastructure development projects on the Bloemfontein Campus. The construction of a new parking area for staff and students accommodated in the new Education Building, will begin as early as June 2015.

The project includes 113 parking places for students and 16 covered parking places for staff. According to Nico Janse van Rensburg, Senior Director at University Estates, the project will be tackled using several green approaches. “The parking area’s lighting will be solar-powered. The surface will not be the normal paving stone but will permit the water to drain into the ground and in this way be more environmentally friendly and minimise the greenhouse effect,” he says.

Several indigenous trees will beautify the area.

The new parking area will be situated opposite the UFS Sasol library’s student parking area, between the cricket field and the present parking area at the Education Building.

The second project involves a new roof structure at the Bloemfontein Campus’s main entrance security gate.

Since August last year, the university has been enforcing rigorous entrance controls. No person can access any of the five entrances of the Bloemfontein Campus without a valid entrance card. Should individuals not have a card, they must access the campus at Gate 5 in DF Malherbe Avenue where a temporary access card will be issued to them.  Scanning for visitors and service providers is also available at Gate 1 (Nelson Mandela Drive) and Gate 5 (DF Malherbe Avenue).

The  roof structure at the main entrance will serve as a security point. Primarily, it will provide shelter from the elements for those staff manning the area.

Nico says that the plan is to complete the projects before the end of the year. The projects are currently in the planning phase.

“The gate may possibly be closed for a day or two but the main work will be done during weekends. Certain lanes may also be closed from time to time to ensure the safety of both users and construction workers,” says Nico.

Staff and students will be advised well in advance if and when the gate will be closed.

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