The V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
The V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Thursday’s Cape Town launch of Gangster State‚ Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book about ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule‚ has been cancelled due to safety concerns.

Myburgh said on Thursday the event had been cancelled by the V&A Waterfront.

Exclusive Books‚ which was due to host the launch‚ confirmed the cancellation to TimesLIVE but later tweeted: “Please note that Myburgh’s statement is incorrect. Due to security concerns we were in the process of discussing the possibility of either a postponement or change of venue but no cancellation was discussed & no official decision has been made.”

V&A spokesperson Donald Kau said the decision to cancel the launch had been made in consultation with the police.

“It was not a lightly made decision‚” he said‚ and V&A management were aware of the negative reaction it had caused among supporters of freedom of speech.

“Our primary consideration was that we have businesses‚ staff and visitors around the precinct whose safety we need to consider‚” he said.

The V&A had “noted other disruptions” at the launch of Gangster State‚ especially the ANC Youth League demonstration at Exclusive Books in Sandton on Tuesday.

Myburgh said in a WhatsApp message: “It appears V&A Waterfront has cancelled the launch of #GangsterState because its willingness to defend free speech is not quite in line with its appetite for profits from shoppers.”

The author said “a small band of critics … who can’t express their views in a civil manner” had “spooked the V&A Waterfront into submission”.

“This is a sad day for SA‚ and V&A really needs to be held to account for this‚” he said.

Numerous people who responded to Myburgh’s tweet about the cancellation condemned the V&A.