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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

Centre for Universal Access and Disability Support HOD selected as prestigious Fulbright scholar
2015-06-24

Hetsie Veitch and Gabriela Schroder
Photo: Valentino Ndaba

Hetsie Veitch, who has served as the Head of the Centre for Universal Access and Disability Support at the university for the past seven years, recently won the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship for studies in the USA. Hetsie has been placed at the renowned Syracuse University in Upstate New York, where she will read for a PhD in Disability Studies in the School of Education.

By focusing on matters of social justice in the pedagogy of higher education, Hetsie will explore the creation of universally accessible learning spaces for students so that she can apply these ideas on her return to South Africa in four years.

Under her leadership, the Unit for Students with Disabilities (USD) was transformed into the Centre for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) in order to reflect new approaches to universal access and universal design.“It is my ultimate goal,” says Hetsie, “to create an institutional culture that includes and welcomes all students with disabilities.”

It is difficult to fully capture the enormous contribution Hetsie has made to the UFS in disability justice, by establishing platforms for students with disabilities that enable them to be appreciated as individuals, and to excel in academic studies.

One of our star students, Gabriela Schröder, also won the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship. Gaby, as she’s called, will be taking up doctoral studies in Biochemistry at a leading university in her field, namely North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Gaby earned her BSc Honours degree in Biochemistry at the University of the Free State, after also completing her undergraduate studies in Chemistry and Biochemistry at Kovsies.

She participated in the F1 Leadership for Change Programme (Class of 2011) as part of the first-year cohort that went to the University of Vermont. In 2012, she was selected to participate in the elite Stanford Sophomore College Programme with students from Oxford University (UK) and Stanford University in California.

In 2014, Gaby was awarded the Dean's Medal, a distinction which is presented to the best final-year student studying towards a Bachelor’s degree in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. She was also the proud recipient of the Senate Medal, awarded for academic excellence in the achievement of a Bachelor’s degree at the university.

 

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