Johannesburg – ANC secretary general Ace Magashule says those who disrupted Tuesday’s Gangster State book launch should desist from protesting in his name as their actions are a form of “political intolerance”.
Magashule issued a statement on Wednesday in response to the disruption of the book launch of Gangster State; Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture at Exclusive Books in Sandton on Tuesday night. The event was cut short after a group of people who were dressed in ANC T-shirts disrupted the launch and proceeded to tear pages from the book.
The group were reported to have chanted “Ace, Ace” as they caused a commotion at the store. The book is written by journalist Pieter Louis Myburgh and centres on Magashule’s alleged corrupt activities while he was the premier of the Free State and the chairperson of the ANC in the province.
Magashule said core values contained in the Constitution give the media freedom of speech and even when people disagreed proper platforms should be used to do so.
He reiterated that he plans to legal action against Myburgh.
“I have indicated to my organisation that I am pursuing legal action against the false allegations made in the book. In addition, where we disagree with views expressed in books, the media and other platforms, we must use peaceful and constitutional means to engage those who peddle lies and fake news,” said Magashule.
“Those purporting to be ANC members and supporter disrupting book launches, burn books and intimidate authors and journalists in my name or to be revolutionary should desist, because these are actions of political intolerance, and against freedom of expression for all South Africans,” he said.
On Tuesday, the ANC also sought to distance itself from a group of protesters.
The organisation issued a quick statement on Tuesday night, hours after the launch was disrupted and ended, saying that the group did not disrupt the launch in the name of the ANC or Magashule.
“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,” said ANC spokesperson Dakota Legoete.
Magashule and the ANC have commended a book burning event scheduled to be held on Monday by the ANC Youth League in the Free State.