NEWS & ANALYSIS

Intimidation and threats of burning of books condemned – ANC Veterans League

Young people urged to desist form thuggery and win their arguments by strength and clarity of their ideas

The ANC Veterans League condemns the intimidation and threats of burning of books

15 April 2019

The ANC Veterans League, tried and tested members of the ANC, serve as the custodian of the ANC values, principles and policies. We condemn, with the contempt it deserves, the actions of individuals who disrupted the launch of Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s web of capture.

The protesters stormed the store and ripped pages from the book which they threw around before security at Sandton Exclusive Books escorted them out.

This atrocious behaviour occurred just prior to the launch of the Oliver Tambo School of Leadership. To quote the President of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa, the school will produce “cadres who understand the fundamental values and principles of our movement, cadres who reject all forms of intolerance and intimidation.” He unambiguously distanced the ANC from the outrageous disruption of the launch, which is not what the ANC stands for, and made it crystal clear that the school will produce “cadres who, like all of us, condemn in no uncertain terms, the actions of those who disrupted a book launch in Johannesburg a few days ago and who call for books to be burned.”

As the ANC Veterans League we call on young people to desist from burning or encouraging others to burn books that they do not agree with. We remind young people of the burning of books associated with the fascism and genocide of the 2nd World War. We urge young people to read books, critique books, write books. We urge young people to desist form thuggery and win their arguments by the strength and clarity of their ideas.

It is important that young people value education and knowledge and actively involve themselves in research, always engaging with the uncomfortable truth.

The Oliver Tambo School of Leadership will definitely inculcate the culture of research, reading and appreciation of the immense sacrifices that were made by the majority of our people to usher in democracy. All cadres of the movement starting from the elected leaders will be compelled to spend some time at our School of Leadership to acquire knowledge about our rich history of the struggle and how we should defend our democracy.

Pallo Jordan reminded those who attended the launch that the founding members of the ANC were editors and writers “our first SG, Sol Plaatje, wrote in both English and Setswana. For decades his book ”Native Life in South Africa” was unavailable in South Africa because publishers would not touch it.”

We must not forget that newspapers, editors and journalists who exposed the brutality of aparthied were banned by the racist regime. We must not forget that our people laid down their lives for the freedom of expression that is enshrined in our Constitution.

The ANC Veterans League calls on young people to engage in the battle of ideas, to always research and to seek the truth. The future is in the hands of young people but has to be built on a solid foundation based on research, knowledge and of defending our constitutional values.

Issued by Snuki Zikalala, President of the ANC Veterans League, 15 April 2019