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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

Eco-building workshop and rehabilitation through collaboration
2017-03-17

Description: Eco-building workshop  Tags: Eco-building workshop

A demonstration of eco-building at Lebone Village
recreation centre
Photo: Supplied

An intimate learning platform was created when Velile Phantsi and Mokoena Maphalane, two community members who had received training in eco-building from the University of the Free State (UFS) Centre for Development Support (CDS) under the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, presented a workshop for 10 Free State psychiatric patients in Bloemfontein on 23 February 2017.

Building self-sustaining communities
The training programme took place at Lebone Village recreation centre, at a structure that was built through the eco-building initiative, Qala Phelang Tala (Start Living Green). The collaboration between the Department of Occupational Therapy at the Faculty of Health Sciences and CDS has the potential to address unemployment and housing backlogs and forms a significant part of the rehabilitation of vulnerable people. It has also created prospects for community-based research.

Training and support to rehabilitate vulnerable people
Following the sharing of skills, the Department of Occupational Therapy will continue to work with patients through this community engagement project. Trainees will receive support in building a recreation centre structure at their own complex. During the presentation Mokoena Maphalane shared his personal experience of how physical activity such as eco-building helped him recover from the debilitating effects of a stroke. It is something he hopes will assist other patients in the future. 

More information on eco-building.


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