Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News - 10-04-2019
A Wits journalism professor has told Radio Islam that burning books in any society is a danger.
Professor Anton Harber was commenting on the disruption of a book launch by investigative journalist Pieter Louis Myburg at Exclusive Books in Sandton.
A group of protestors, some wearing African National Congress (ANC) t-shirts stormed the store and tore out pages from Myburg’s book Gangster State.
The controversial book claims to expose corruption in the Free State under ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule’s time as premier.
Harber says it’s not normal to disrupt book launches or burn books.
“I think we are in a time of heightened political conflict when two exceptional pieces of investigative journalism (referring to Gangster State and Jacques Pauw’s book ‘The President’s Keepers’) has challenged people with power and authority and they’ve used their psyches to lash back.”
Harber says while the response by the Magashule is worrying the ANC’s response has changed.
“Magashule is really just saying that he’s a type prepared to go along with this and he’s in an increasingly desperate situation. The ANC at first was tepid in its response first saying ‘we distance ourselves.’ But since then there’s been some ANC people like Jackson Mthembu and Derek Hannekom who said the ANC need to act against those involved and want to see much further action.”
Harber says it’s very important that the institutions of law and state be used to act against those who threaten or burn books and to protect journalists.