Durban - Pieter-Louis Myburgh, author of the controversial “Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture” has challenged the ANC Secretary General to sue him and says that the optimist in him hopes to see the former Free State Premier in an orange uniform in prison.
Myburgh has been addressing an audience of around 100 people at Urban Lime in central Durban on Tuesday night and he says that considering the amount of time that Magashule had to roll out his alleged looting network in the Free State and considering the length of his political career which was “problematic from the get go” it was apt to unpack it in book format.
Unlike in Gauteng where the launch was disrupted last month and in the Free State where the book's launch at the University of the Free State was cancelled last week amid fears of possible disruption, the Durban launch proceeded without a glitch.
With Magashule recently saying that he would prove in court that Myburgh was a liar, the author says that he is unfazed and that is actually inviting Magashule to sue him for defamation.
“In the last ten years corruption issues have not ended up in court when prominent people were involved because of the capture of the environment of government and if it takes a defamation suit to finally get a corrupt individual in court by all means please sue myself and the publisher.
“He’s been making those utterances for a month now and I’m really becoming about his legal bill because he’s saying he’s in consultation with his lawyers and we all know what lawyers charge, so it’s going to be quite a hefty bill,” says Myburgh.
He says that his book was written in such a way as to allow the reader to “come on this journey as I unpack and reconstruct Ace Magashule the criminal and state capturer”.
While working on the 360 page book Myburgh says that he had been on Magashule’s trail for 13 months doing full time research on the former premier Free State province and says that in this period he discovered that Magashule operated like a brazen gangster, likening him to the character of Harlem drug boss Frank Lucas in the blockbusting 2007 movie American Gangster.
“Another thing that I started realising about Magashule is that he quite literally does operate like a gangster frequently in his dealings with contractors, fellow politicians and other people who operate in this political economic sphere where government tenders are decided upon.
“That includes things like literally working with something like a burner phone that he uses a couple of times to ensure that there couldn’t be any criminal investigation to trace these type of things,” Myburgh says.
He says that people who had a front row seat of Magashule’s handling of the Free State province coffers and the way he ran that province’s administration in his close to a decade long tenure as its premier have said that the book’s title was too soft on the now ANC SG.
He says that he had originally set out to look at certain case studies, and in this instance those were naturally government tenders, and he found that corrupt deals around tenders do allow people to build a detailed picture of how an individual like Magashule who functioned as a state capturer functioned in this capacity.
“It is always a band of contractors closely associated with Magashule, the likes of his daughter, his brother in some instances, the family members of high profile politicians in the province, associates of and political backers of Magashule who walk away with these contracts.
“It is also to ensure that there is continued money flows to people in this network of benefactors of state contracts. The laws and regulations that govern how the government spends money in South Africa is flouted time and again. You’ve got things like the Municipal Public Finance Management Act that is sidestepped to ensure that people like Magashule’s associates get the contracts,” says Myburgh.