Gangster State author not put off by book launch disruptions

10 April 2019 - 11:03 By Iavan Pijoos
Pieter-Louis Myburgh said it was "disappointing behaviour" for ANC supporters to disrupt the launch of his book at Sandton City.
Pieter-Louis Myburgh said it was "disappointing behaviour" for ANC supporters to disrupt the launch of his book at Sandton City.
Image: Twitter / Penguins Books SA

Investigative journalist and author Pieter-Louis Myburgh says he will not be deterred by disruptions and the tearing up of his book, Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule's Web of Capture, at its launch in Sandton on Tuesday evening.

Myburgh said it was "disappointing behaviour" for ANC supporters to disrupt the launch at Sandton City.  

"It is sad when an event like last night gets disrupted because it is a platform where people can exchange ideas and discuss issues such as those that are unpacked in the book, but this group of people chose not to partake in that process and instead wanted to disrupt it.

LISTEN | Pieter-Louis Myburgh comments on book launch disruption

"They had no intention of airing their views or engaging in the subject matter in a constructive manner. It was very disappointing behaviour," Myburgh told TimesLIVE.  

He said he had received positive feedback on the book, which details Magashule's dealings as a struggle activist in the 1980s and later as premier of the Free State, and his rise to one of the ANC's most influential positions.

"People appreciate the fact that it addresses issues that are in the public interest and that pertain to the behaviour of a very powerful political figure in this country as well as the government in a broader sense."

Protesters shouting their support for ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule stormed the launch of Myburgh's book at Exclusive Books in Sandton City mall on Tuesday evening.

They stormed into the store singing and holding up posters declaring "Hands off SG Ace".

The protesters shouted at customers, telling them: "Go! Go! Why are you prosecuting Ace Magashule? They can't call us [k-word] any more; now they call us corrupt!"

The tearing up of copies of his book and the attempt to intimidate shoppers has been widely denounced across the political spectrum.

Protesters have been described as "hooligans" and "thugs" who the police had to harshly deal with.

The ANC has distanced itself from the disruption of the launch as well as plans by the ANCYL in the Free State to burn copies of the book.

ANC acting national spokesperson Dakota Legoete said that those who disrupted the launch had not done so in the name of the governing party nor on behalf of Magashule.

"Our constitutional democracy enjoins us to defend every citizen's right to freedom of speech, irrespective of whether we agree with the contents or not.

"The ANC appeals to all its structures to observe and adhere to the letter and spirit of our constitution," Legoete said.

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