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Johannesburg – The ANC has distanced itself from the disruptive scenes that unfolded at the the launch of investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s new book, Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture.
Sandton City was the scene of chaos and disorder on Tuesday evening as protesters, some clad in ANC T-shirts, disrupted the Johannesburg launch of the book.
The group stormed Exclusive Books, singing songs in support of Magashule, causing chaos and tearing pages from the book.
Police said no arrests were made and that the store was closed as a result of the demonstration.
The ANC in a statement condemned the disruption of the book launch as well the ANC Youth League Free State’s call to burn the book.
“The ANC condemns the disruption and the call to burn books in the strongest possible terms. We wish to emphasise that those who disrupted the launch did not do so in the name of the ANC nor on behalf of the ANC Secretary General.
“We view the actions of these individuals in a very serious light as it undermines freedom of speech.
The party further said: “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 ruling party, following the book’s release on April 1, hastened to Magashule’s defence, calling the book fake news reminiscent of Stratcom tactics, a reference to a group within the apartheid government specifically tasked with carrying out disinformation campaigns.
The party in its statement concluded by appealing to its structures to “observe and adhere to the letter and spirit of our Constitution”.
Myburgh’s book exposes a corruption ring Magashule is alleged to have headed in the Free State during his tenure as premier.
Myburgh writes that Magashule demanded 10% kickbacks from business people in exchange for securing lucrative contracts from the provincial administration.
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