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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

UFS congratulates Free State on matric results
2017-01-05

 Description: 002 IBP Matric results Tags: 002 IBP Matric results

With projects like the Internet Broadcast Project and the
Schools Partnership Projects the UFS helps to improve
education at schools in the Free State.
Photo: iStock

The University of the Free State (UFS) congratulates the Free State and its learners on their outstanding performance in the 2016 matric results. The university, who also plays a role in promoting excellence at school level, is proud of the Free State’s achievement as the best-performing province in the country with a 93,2% pass rate, excluding progressed learners.

“On behalf of the university community I would like to congratulate the Free State MEC of Education, Tate Makgoe, who is also a member of the UFS Council, and the Department of Education in the province on this fine achievement. The UFS is proud to be involved in projects that contribute to the success of the province’s learners. These include the Internet Broadcast Project (IBP) and the Schools Partnership Projects (SPP). The projects help to improve the quality of teaching and help learners to overcome severe domestic conditions in rural areas,” says Prof Nicky Morgan, Acting Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS.

Internet Broadcast Project

The UFS IDEAS Lab in the Department of Open and Distance Learning on the UFS South Campus supports learners in 83 schools through the IBP with the help of academic videos. The project is a collaboration between the university and the Department of Education in the province. It includes support for subjects such as Mathematics, Physical Science, Life Science, Economics, Accounting, and Geography.

A purpose-built school appliance, comprising a projector, speakers, and a PC, is set up at each school, where learners receive video lectures from highly-qualified teachers.

During a function held in Bloemfontein on 5 January 2017 to congratulate performing schools in the province, Mr Makgoe made special mention of the IBP and said that part of the success of the province can be attributed to the project. Many of the top performing schools had learners who participated in the project. One of the districts that forms part of the project, the Xhariep District, was announced as the top performing district in the province, and is second in the country.


Schools Partnership Projects

The SPP focuses on teachers in order to have a more sustainable impact, with 69 schools in the Free State and Eastern Cape being part of it.

It makes use of mentors (30) who assist teachers and headmasters with school management, Mathematics, Physical Science, Accounting, and English as language of learning. The project has an annual budget of more than R15 million – all the funds come from sponsors outside the UFS.

Mentors visit schools and share knowledge, extra material, and technology to improve the standard of teaching. The change has been significant. Matric results and Bachelors pass rates have improved dramatically in these schools.

Another aspect is the identification of learners with potential (so-called first-generation students) to go to university. They are assisted through extra classes and in applying for tertiary education and bursaries.

Many of them currently study at the UFS, and also receive mentorship at university.

Dr Peet Venter, SPP Project Manager, said his team is proud to be part of the process of helping the Free State to become the number one province in the country again.

Both the IBP and SPP was started in 2011 and are managed from the university’s South Campus in Bloemfontein.

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