Gangster State: Author hopes Magashule follows through on legal action threat

2019-04-12 19:02
Investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh. (Screengrab)

Investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh. (Screengrab)

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No legal proceedings have been instituted against investigative journalist and author Pieter-Louis Myburgh, author of the book Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule's web of capture, despite Magashule's threat to do so.

But Myburgh hopes Magashule makes good on his promise, he said at a Cape Town Press Club event for the book.

In a Q&A with the chairperson of the Cape Town Press Club, Brent Meersman, at Kelvin Grove in Cape Town, Myburgh responded to a raft of questions from audience members.

Asked about the status of the proposed legal challenge Magashule said he would be instituting against Myburgh, he confirmed that his lawyers and those representing the publisher had not yet heard from Magashule's legal representatives.

Myburgh stated that "it's very easy to go in public and say 'we're going to court', and speaking to the media, and promising legal action."

"It's quite a different matter to serve legal summonses and actually effect a legal case for defamation. So, if Mr Magashule chooses to do that we've got all the legal avenues for individuals to do that.

"The courts are open to him so if he feels aggrieved to that extent I certainly hope he makes use of his rights to pursue these matters legally," Myburgh added.

Asked if he had heard from Magashule's lawyers, Myburgh responded with a simple "no".

"I think the public should come to their own conclusions regarding the delay. The issues unpacked in the book are clearly very well researched and it's factually based, and I speak to people on the record. [Magashule] must keep in mind that if it does end up there, obviously we will defend it and we are able to rely on quite a large body of documents and individuals who would come to testify.

"So if he's willing to have this issue play out in court, it would be a very healthy way for us to deal with some of these issues unpacked in the book."

Exclusive Books to hold new Cape Town launch

Confirming News24's previous reportage, Grattan Kirk, CEO of Exclusive Books, said in a statement, "the decision to postpone the launch of Pieter-Louis Myburgh's book Gangster State at our Waterfront store on Thursday 11 April, was reached after a three-way discussion with the South African Police, Centre Management at the V&A Waterfront and ourselves."

"Western Cape service delivery protest marches were scheduled for the same time as our launch and the police had been put on high alert for those protest actions. They advised us that they would be unable to provide any security support to us in the event of any similar disruption, as we experienced at our Sandton store on Tuesday 9 April, and therefore their recommendation was to postpone the event to a date when they could lend their support."

"In addition, given the recommendations of the police and V&A Waterfront management, we were advised that any damage or injury arising from the protest action would not have been accepted by our insurance company. We continue to stand by freedom of expression, Pieter-Louis Myburgh and Penguin Random House."

Kirk added that "the launch of Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule's Web of Capture will now take place on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at 18:00 at the V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre."

'Not in his name'

Earlier this week, News24 reported after the disruption of the Sandton launch, ANC spokesperson Dakota Legoete condemned the actions of protesters. He said the party would act against members who destroyed copies of the book and disrupted the launch.

Magashule added that, although he would still challenge the book's publication in court, the disruptions were "not in my name".

"The Constitution and laws of the country allow for channels to follow when we disagree with information and ideas, whether in books or the media. I have indicated to my organisation that I am pursuing legal action against the false allegations made in the book,'' said Magashule.

Magashule has also publicly denied any wrongdoing during his time as leader of the Free State and stated on eNCA that "we will prove in court that the man is a blatant liar".

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