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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

First Rand Foundation contributes funding towards students with disabilities
2017-01-02

 Description: First Rand Foundation Tags: First Rand Foundation

Photo: iStock

Bursary funding for eight students with disabilities at the University of the Free State was recently approved by the First Rand Foundation. The grant of R2 497 440 will be paid over three years: R800 000 (2016/17), R824 000 (2017/18), and R873 440 (2018/19).

This grant from the First Rand Tertiary Education Fund is a result of the negotiations between the UFS Office for Institutional Advancement and the First Rand Foundation (FRF).

Qualifying students with disabilities will be encouraged to apply for bursaries according to criteria and requirements set by the First Rand Foundation. The selection process will be handled by a panel from the UFS. The Centre for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) at the UFS will be instrumental in the process of identifying students with disabilities who meet the criteria and requirements for funding.

CUADS already have a system in place to support students with disabilities in their studies and during exams. Students also have access to specialised exam and test venues for alternative test and exam procedures, as well as computer facilities.

Specialised support services include an amanuensis (scribe) service during tests and exams, accommodating extra time, individual tutor sessions provided in collaboration with the Centre for Teaching and Learning, South African Sign Language interpreter coordination, provision of accessible study material, and individual disability support.

 

“The centre aims to ensure that the university increasingly becomes a universally accessible environment that is welcoming and accepting to people with diverse abilities.”

According to Martie Miranda, Head of CUADS, the centre aims to ensure that the university increasingly becomes a universally accessible environment that is welcoming and accepting to people with diverse abilities. “Therefore disability awareness training and advocacy within the UFS, and specifically among staff members, is one of our priorities,” she said.

According to Thandeka Rantsi from the FRF, the company will furthermore support students in CUADS with regards to the needs ensuing from the #feesmustfall protests. “Exactly R34 000 was approved by the FRF for 14 students towards residence and meal expenses, as well as scribe and reader assistance during additional assessments,” she said.

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