The Cape Town book launch of Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture is in serious doubt on Thursday, as officials at the V&A Waterfront are assessing potential security concerns over the event.
Gangster State launch at the V&A Waterfront
Earlier this week, we saw the Sandton launch disrupted by chaotic protests from pro-Ace Magashule factions of the ANC. Demonstrators tore pages from books and trashed the store which was hosting author Pieter-Louis Myburgh. Even the ANC Youth League planned a “book burning”, but senior ranks of the party have distanced themselves from this.
In fact, Magashule himself has ordered his followers not to cause any more trouble at these events, stating that South Africans “cannot undermine free speech” even if they disagree with it. Earlier on Thursday, Myburgh was upset to learn that cancellation may have been an option on the table.
Friends of democracy and free speech, help me mobilize a little here. @VnAWaterfront and @ExclusiveBooks now want to cancel tonight’s #GangsterState launch because they’re scared of a few rascals. Are we going to allow this to happen? pic.twitter.com/7QLlHajQXB
— Pieter-Louis Myburgh (@PLMyburgh) April 11, 2019
Exclusive Books deny any “cancellation” talk
However, despite his claims, Exclusive Books told us that no decision had been made on whether the event would get the green light or not. Things are still very much up in the air, and their head office promised to make a final decision “at some point this afternoon”.
Interestingly enough, both V&A and Exclusive Books representatives are trying to distance themselves from the potential of a cancellation. It seems that the preferred outcome to avoid another wave of protests would be a change of venue, or even a postponement:
“Please note that the statement [made by Pieter-Louis Myburgh] is incorrect. Due to security concerns, we were in the process of discussing the possibility of either a postponement or change of venue for the Gangster State book launch, but no cancellation was discussed and no official decision has been made.”
We will have more on this story as it develops throughout the day. Myburgh will also be appearing at The Book Lounge on Roeland Street, from 15:00 on Thursday afternoon.