Hard-hitting exposé has Zuma ‘shaken’
AUTHOR Jacques Pauw says he will defend his book All the President’s Keepers in court.
This follows a cease and desist letter that he and his publisher received from the State Security Agency (SSA) and threats of legal action by the SA Revenue Service (Sars) over a “breach of confidential taxpayer information”.
The book alleges that President Jacob Zuma did not file his tax returns to Sars for the first four years of his presidency, and that he had also received a R1 million a month salary for several months in 2009 without declaring this to the tax authorities.
In the book, it’s claimed that Sars commissioner Tom Moyane was shielding Zuma from his tax obligations over the fringe benefits he had accrued when public money was used to renovate his private homestead at Nkandla.
Pauw’s book, with its explosive claims, was published on Sunday with an extract leading the Sunday Times.
But on Wednesday, the SSA sent the letter to Pauw and his publisher NB Books, whose imprint Tafelberg published the work, stating that the contents were in violation of the Intelligence Service Act of 2002 because it contained an interview with former SSA spy Paul Engelke.
Yesterday, Sars said it was “deeply concerned” about the publication of taxpayer information, which it said was in contravention of the Tax Administration Act (TAA) of 2011.
Speaking to Independent Media yesterday, Pauw said before the book was published he and his publisher took extensive legal advice.
“I expected them (SSA and Sars) to react sooner, (instead) it took them five days,” said Pauw.
In the cease and desist letter sent by Kgoroeadira Mudau Inc, it was claimed that the book was “replete with inaccuracies” and contained “fake information” for which Pauw and his publisher would be held accountable.
But Pauw said he could only break the Intelligence Service Act if the information that he had published was true.
“Sars and the SSA need to make up their minds,” said Pauw.
Instead, he said, it was quite clear that the SSA were “fast asleep”, taking action now when the book was already in stores.
The cease and desist letter states that Engelke had disclosed classified information to Pauw without the permission of SSA director-general Arthur Fraser.
“We will argue that we are legally in possession of materials and we have not broken any laws,” said Pauw.
On Zuma’s tax affairs, and his comments in the National Assembly on Thursday, Pauw said: “It’s very interesting what he said – he hasn’t received any payments without declaring it.
“Up to 2014, Zuma had not declared his tax returns. It needs to be investigated. It’s not the first time that Zuma has lied in Parliament,” said Pauw.
Yesterday, the Right 2 Know campaign and opposition parties slammed threats against Pauw and his publisher by the SSA and Sars.
They all described the letter from SAA as a threat against Pauw and the media in general.
R2K said it also noted another threat by Sars to take the author to court.
“R2K views these as crude acts of censorship, aimed at intimidating investigative journalists and protecting the corrupt and powerful,” said R2K.
The DA, IFP and African Christian Democratic Party also warned of threats against journalists.
DA Director of Communications Mabine Seabe said it was clear that Zuma has been shaken by the book.
“It’s quite clear that this book has shaken President Zuma and his inner circle. Where in a democracy have you heard securocrats say what must be published and not published,” said Seabe.
He said if Zuma has issues with the book he must go to court.
ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe also said this was an intimidation tactic against the media.
“It’s another way to intimidate journalists and protect people who are implicated. What Jacques Pauw should say is ‘let us meet in court’. Journalists in South Africa should not be intimidated for exposing corruption,” he said.
“We want journalists to expose anything that is corruption because people in South Africa are tired of corruption,” said Meshoe.
IFP chief whip in Parliament Narend Singh said this was a legal process and after Zuma’s reply in the National Assembly this week he hinted at legal action.
President Jacob Zuma gets animated in Parliament on Thursday.
A staff member at the Gateway Exclusive Books sets the shelf with the release of the explosive new book, The President’s Keepers by journalist and author Jacques Pauw.