The publishers behind investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh's new book, Gangster State say that they stand by their author and will not "buckle under political pressure".
"Penguin Random House (PRHSA) stands by the book and its author. Gangster State was meticulously researched and thoroughly checked by our legal team.
"The book tells an important part of the state capture story clearly and compellingly. We will not withdraw it - or any of its contents - under political pressure," said Surita Joubert on behalf of PRHSA, in a statement on Tuesday.
The book Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule's Web of Capture written by Myburgh places Magashule at the "head of a well-organised state-capture network" in the Free State where he was the premier until December 2017.
The ANC labelled the media reports stemming from the book as a "direct and well-calculated attack" on Magashule. It further rubbished the media reports as "fake news" and "propaganda".
"These fake news stories, and the dubious book that they are based on, are timed for publication barely a month before our national elections in order to try and inflict the maximum damage against the Secretary General of the ANC," ANC spokesperson Dakota Legoete said in a statement on Sunday.
PHRSA acknowledged the ANC's response to the book but questioned whether the governing party would hold those leaders who loot accountable.
"That there has been no attempt to substantively refute the allegations in the book speaks volumes. The ANC has recently stated that it will act in the public interest, and hold leaders who loot accountable for their actions. This is a chance to turn words into deeds," Joubert added.
The issues presented in the book were discussed during a special meeting with ANC leaders in Irene, Tshwane, on Monday and it was understood that Magashule would deal with the allegations on his own.
A national executive committee member told News24 it was also understood from the one-day meeting that Magashule would pursue legal action against the investigative journalist, News24 earlier reported.
"We further note Mr Magashule's threats to pursue legal action over the contents of the book. We will oppose any legal action that seeks to hide essential facts from South Africans about how our government is really being run," said Joubert.
"It is important that individuals and organisations are not intimidated by powerful people with deep pockets who cannot tolerate these truths being laid bare," she noted.