After warning shots of condemnation rang loud from Luthuli House on Thursday, members of the African National Congress’ Youth League (ANCYL) in Free State have been left stuck with a mountain of books and South African apartheid-era flags.
As informative as Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture by Peter-Louis Myburgh is, it is nothing that the ANCYL would want to learn from.
Gangster State causes stir in Free State
Since the controversial book hit the shelves on Sunday, 31 March, Magashule has been bombarded with claims that he ran the Free State like the mafia.
Of course, the ANC’s secretary-general has categorically denied all allegations levelled against him in the book, calling it an orchestrated ‘Stratcom’ attack whose supposed evidence ought to be tested in a court of law.
As reported by the Citizen, the ruling party’s youth constituency interrupted Myburgh’s book launch at the Sandton City Mall on Wednesday, hurling struggle chants and forcing the store to close its doors to the sold-out event.
ANC and Magashule step in to halt fiery plans
The plan, from thereon, was supposed to see the ANCYL burning the books, along with South Africa’s apartheid-era flag.
However, as expected, the lords of Luthuli House caught wind of this immature behaviour and warned its youth constituency against acting out violently in the party’s name.
“We view the actions of these individuals in a very serious light, as it undermines freedom of speech. Our constitutional democracy joins us to defend every citizen’s right to freedom of speech, irrespective of whether we agree with the contents or not.
“The ANC appeals to all its structures to observe and adhere to the letter and spirit of our constitution,” the ANC noted in a statement.
Magashule also threw his weight in the situation, warning his supporters to desist from such an intolerable act of violence.
“Those purporting to be ANC members and supporters 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.
So what will happen with the books and apartheid-era flags?
Free State’s ANCYL spokesperson, Sello Pieterson, confirmed that the burning of the books had been temporarily halted, following instructions from Luthuli House.
When asked where the “garage full of books” was obtained from, Pieterson only stated that they received from “society at large”.
He confirmed that the youth constituency would hold a meeting on Thursday, to discuss a way forward.
“We will have a meeting [today] with the provincial ANC to discuss a way forward about what will happen with the books but our views still stands that those books will not return to the shelves.
“I have read the book, unfortunately, and it was garbage and a serious waste of my time,” said Pieterson.