UFS to go ahead with 'Gangster State' book launch, despite alleged security threat

2019-05-17 18:41
Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule's Web of Capture by Pieter-Louis Myburgh, published by Penguin Random House.

Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule's Web of Capture by Pieter-Louis Myburgh, published by Penguin Random House.

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The University of the Free State (UFS) has made an about-turn and will host the planned Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule's Web of Capturebook launch and discussion on Thursday in Bloemfontein, after initially indicating it would postpone it due to an alleged security threat.

"The discussion of the book Gangster State by Pieter-Louis Myburgh will go ahead as planned on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS) on May 23, 2019," said spokesperson Lacea Loader in a statement on Friday.

"The decision to postpone the book discussion this week was done on advice by the university's Protection Services to the UFS Business School, following a proper risk assessment." 

The book delves into the empire Magashule built in the Free State where he was premier and leader of the ANC in the Free State, positions he held unchallenged for many years before he was elected into the ANC's top six as general-secretary, News24 earlier reported.

Two other book launches - in Cape Town and Johannesburg - had been disrupted by people purporting to be from the ANC. Magashule has previously distanced himself from the protests, saying they were "not in my name".

"I understand that the UFS security department was threatened by a faction of the ANC or people who claim to be part of the ANC that they would disrupt the event with violence," Myburgh told News24 recently.

ALSO READ: UFS postpones Free State 'Gangster State' launch indefinitely citing 'security concerns'

The university conducts risk and threat assessments for all events to ensure the protection of its students, staff, and infrastructure, UFS said in a statement on Thursday.

The institution has decided to host the event after it re-assessed the decision.

"The executive management re-assessed this decision and felt that the platform for intellectual debate and discourse, coupled with the principles of academic freedom and freedom of expression, should be honoured and hence recommended that the UFS Business School continue with the book discussion.

"Furthermore, the university wants to reiterate that freedom of expression is not an absolute and should be seen within a particular context. The university welcomes and appreciates the fact that Mr Myburgh agreed to continue with the book discussion," Loader concluded.

The book launch and discussion is expected to be held in the Odeion Theatre in the Bloemfontein Campus on May 23 from 14:00 to 16:00.

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Read more on:    anc  |  pieter-louis myburgh  |  ace maga­shule

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