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Not in my name, says Magashule over 'Gangster State' disruption

The African National Congress (ANC) has distanced itself from a group of people, some wearing ANC T-shirts, who tore up copies of the book.

The launch of Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book 'Gangster State' has been disrupted at the Sandton City Mall. Picture: Bonga Dlulane/EWN

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Ace Magashule has reacted to the violent disruption of journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh's book launch, saying it was not done in his name.

On Tuesday night people gathered in Sandton to attend the launch of the book Gangster State which centres around Magashule’s alleged involvement in years of corruption.

In a statement, Magashule described Tuesday’s disruption as a reflection of political intolerance which goes against freedom of expression.

The ANC has since distanced itself from a group of people who wore the party’s T-shirts and destroyed copies of the book.

Police had to be called in to bring calm to the scene.

FRUSTRATION

Myburgh said he was frustrated and disappointed after the launch of his book Gangster State was disrupted in Sandton.

The author described the burning of books as an anti-intellectual exercise.

"The burning of the book is a very sad and embarrassing development for the ANC as a party, as it shows that it is not willing to in a constructive manner engage with the issues raised in the book. Symbolically, it also very concerning as it creates a violent intent."

The ANC's chief whip, Jackson Mthembu, has since reacted and said those who disrupted the launch would face disciplinary action.

Mthembu weighed in on Twitter and said protesters must be arrested.

He also called on ANC members to defend the rights of the author and publisher.

However, the ANC Youth League in the Free State said they would continue to defend Magashule by burning copies of the book at a dumping site in Mangaung on Monday.

At the same time, the Freedom of Expression Institute said it was dismayed by the conduct of protesters.

Freedom of Expression Institute acting executive director Rea Simigiannis said: “There are other ways of expressing concerns or anger at the book. They can raise questions, they can write to newspapers or they go to court. It was completely unnecessary.”

‘TERRIFIED’

Exclusive Books CEO Alan Grattan Kirk said a stock count would be done at its Sandton City branch on Wednesday to determine the severity of the damage caused during a chaotic book launch.

Kirk said the crowd stormed the store and caused mayhem. He said people who attended the launch were terrified.

“I had negotiations with the people who were protesting, and they demanded that I close the store. They said I should close and evacuate everyone, or they wouldn’t leave the store.”

Kirk said they had enough security officials deployed to oversee Tuesday night’s event.

“We’ll continue resolute with launches. We had sufficient security, but we did not expect a mob like this. We’ve not dealt with this ever before”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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