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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

Amphitheatre to energise student life on the Qwaqwa Campus
2015-06-11

The Qwaqwa Campus of the University of the Free State is one of the fastest-growing rural campuses.

Since 2010, the campus has, among other things, built two new student residences, which provide accommodation for an additional 500 students. The old disused boiler room, which was used as a storeroom, has been converted into much-needed ablution and dressing room facilities at the sports fields.  The Faculty of Education now boasts a Technology, Engineering Graphics and Design Education laboratory. The project was funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training.

One of the student priorities is a common space in the form of an open amphitheatre in front of the library.

‘’The amphitheatre is a highly-welcomed structure on our campus as it will provide students with an informal environment to study, socialise and meet,’’ said the Campus Principal, Prof Prakash Naidoo.

‘‘We have erected this on an existing space that was already used for outdoor launches and events on the campus, and is in line with our thinking of energising student life on campus. In addition, we have complemented this with the use of solar energy, so that students can just plug in and charge their phones and laptops while they are in the amphitheatre.”

Excited students, Chibi Mosia and Tshilidzi Matshavha, in final-year Chemistry and Chemistry Honours respectively, concurred that the amphitheatre is a good project for the campus.

‘‘It is an important and distinctive feature for the campus as it adds to the growth of our beautiful campus,’’ said Mosia.

‘’It will also enhance the use of alternative energy sources to reduce the campus's carbon footprint,’’ added Matshavha.

The project is worth almost R2,5 m, and took 12 months to complete. The Department of Higher Education and Training also provided the funds for this project.

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