The publisher of Pieter-Louis Myburgh's book, Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule's Web of Capture , says it will not be silenced following disruptions at the book launch in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
News24 reported that a group of protesters disrupted the launch of Myburgh's book at Exclusive Books in Sandton City. They apparently ripped apart some copies of the book and scattered the pages.In videos which publisher Penguin Random House posted on social media, the group can be seen dancing and singing as mall security guards clad in orange vests surround them.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Penguin Books SA said it "is appalled at the behaviour of those who disrupted the launch".
"We are equally concerned that members of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) have threatened to convene a mass book-burning in Bloemfontein."
It was earlier reported that the ANCYL in the Free State planned to burn copies of the book, which contains allegations that Magashule led the province with an iron fist.Announcing the planned burning at the Mangaung dumping site, provincial ANCYL spokesperson Sello Pietersen said: "We therefore urge society to bring along as many copies of this puke as possible, as well as any material that reflects the barbaric past, such as the old apartheid flag, along to our fireplace".
"These scenes are more reminiscent of Nazi-era Germany than the free society envisaged in our hard-won Constitution. In a democratic South Africa, everybody is free to disagree with a book. But nobody should be free to destroy property and intimidate people," Penguin Books SA said.
"We welcome the ANC's statement condemning those who undermine citizens' freedom to speak, write and publish. We specifically call on the leadership of the ANC, under President Cyril Ramaphosa, to personally ensure that there will be no further disruptions or violence at Gangster State events in the coming days and weeks."
ANC distances itself from incident
The ANC on Tuesday distanced itself from the disruption of the launch of Myburgh's book, as well as plans to burn copies of the book.ANC acting national spokesperson Dakota Legoete emphasised that those who disrupted the launch at Exclusive Books in Sandton City on Tuesday night had not done so in the name of the ruling party or on behalf of Magashule.
The publisher thanked all those engaging critically with the book, and encouraged "all peace-loving citizens and members of the media to attend future Gangster State events to take the discussion further".
"The next book launch will be... [on] Thursday 11 April at 18:00 for 18:30 at Exclusive Books V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, and will be moderated by [News24 editor-in-chief] Adriaan Basson.
"We hope that Ace Magashule and his supporters get the message that no amount of intimidation will deter us.
"Whether it is threats to go to court, the disruption of book launches or the burning of books, we will not be silenced."