An important book to read before voting

By Julian Richfield Time of article published Apr 19, 2019

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A new piece in South Africa’s state capture jigsaw puzzle has been fashioned by investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh with his book Gangster State.

In spite of Cyril Ramaphosa’s “new dawn”, there are powerful forces in the ruling party that risk losing everything if corruption and state capture finally do come to an end. At the centre of the old guard’s fightback efforts is Ace Magashule, a man viewed by some as South Africa’s most dangerous politician.

Myburgh ventures deep into Magashule’s murky dealings, from his time as a Struggle activist in the 1980s to his rule as premier of the Free State for nearly a decade.

The intense researching through records, documents and exclusive interviews explores Magashule’s relationship with the Gupta family and other tender moguls; investigates government projects costing billions that enriched friends and family but failed the poor; reveals how he was about to be arrested by the Scorpions before their disbandment in the late 2000s; and exposes the methods used to keep him in power in the Free State and to secure him the post of ANC secretary-general.

The timing of the book is fortuitous and fits in with a story that seems to develop by the day.

Myburgh has delivered a book that is thorough and painstakingly detailed. One is astounded by just how much lucrative wrongdoing was possible in a relatively small province and the seeming lack of checks and balances.

This is a circumstance our country cannot afford. Gangster State makes for a shocking but necessary read.

Myburgh pulls no punches: “Can all of this still be turned around? I believe so, but by this I mean the country not the ANC. The ruling party’s appointment of its very own ‘secretary gangster’ to a position as visible and important as the one Magashule now occupies can be seen as a broad endorsement of criminality.

“The party’s chronic inability to stem the criminalisation of its internal leadership structures will one day be viewed as a key reason for the ANC’s final implosion. This book and the myriad of media reports over the years should contain enough material to at least prompt the authorities to begin looking in the right places. But that will only happen once the Hawks, the SAPS and the NPA are released from the clutches of their captors.

“The ANC’s secretary-gangster and his cohort need to feel the heat of a truly independent and unfettered law-enforcement environment.”

With the elections around the corner, the stakes could not be higher and this country would benefit from an electorate that is as informed as possible. Gangster State is an important and powerful read.


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