SOUTH Africa’s State Security Agency (SSA) has chosen to ‘shoot the messenger’, by laying criminal charges against Jacques Pauw, author of a book that claims to reveal “the darkest secret at the heart of Jacob Zuma’s compromised government”, according to his publisher.
Media reports in South Africa said that criminal proceedings had begun against Pauw, who published his exposé of Zuma’s government, The President’s Keepers, late last month. The book claims to reveal the “cancerous cabal that eliminates the president’s enemies and purges the law-enforcement agencies of good men and women”. Following a cease and desist letter from the SSA sent to Pauw and his publishers last week over “unlawful publication of classified information”, later reports said that charges had now been laid against them.
NB Publishers said that while it had not been able to establish the nature of the complaints made to police in Pretoria, its lawyers were in direct contact with authorities.
The publisher said, “It is not appropriate nor prudent to comment further on reports in the media that the SSA has laid a complaint against Pauw, author of The President’s Keepers. We can assure the public that we stand by our book and our courageous author.”
It added that it had refused to “bow to the pressure” from the SSA to retract parts of the book and withdraw it from circulation. “Instead of investigating what Pauw’s explosive new book reveals about the agency – including that millions of rands of taxpayers’ money was blown on a bogus parallel intelligence network – the SSA has chosen to ‘shoot the messenger’,” it said.
“NB Publishers will proudly defend our author against any legal action, and are grateful and heartened for the many offers from civil society groups for help in this regard, and the upwelling of support from the South African public.”
Zuma has denied denied the allegations about financial wrongdoing made in Pauw’s book.
Despite support from the public, NB said that threats of violence had been made against Pauw, an award-winning journalist who previously exposed the Vlakplaas police death squads, when he worked at the anti-apartheid Afrikaans newspaper Vrye Weekblad.
“We view this in an extremely serious light and are taking steps to ensure his safety at all times. We will take legal steps against anyone making such threats,” it said in a statement.
According to NB, since The President’s Keepers was published on 29 October, it has sold more than 25 000 copies in South African bookshops, with more than 50 000 on order. It is, said the publisher, the fastest selling book in South Africa since the Nielsen records began in 2004.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015