South African se­cu­rity ser­vices move to ban ex­posé of Ja­cob Zuma govern­ment

The Guardian Weekly - - International news - Ali­son Flood and agen­cies

The South African au­thor of an ex­plo­sive book that prom­ises to ex­pose “the dark­est se­cret at the heart of Ja­cob Zuma’s com­pro­mised govern­ment” has vowed that he is not in­tim­i­dated by ef­forts from the coun­try’s State Se­cu­rity Agency (SSA) to have the book banned from sale.

In­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist Jac­ques Pauw’s The Pres­i­dent’s Keep­ers is a study of what he calls “the peo­ple who have brought our coun­try to the brink of a mafia state”. Mov­ing from the West­ern Cape to Pre­to­ria, Jo­han­nes­burg and Rus­sia, The Pres­i­dent’s Keep­ers fol­lows “a trail of lies and spies, cronies, cash and king­mak­ers as Pauw prises open the web of de­ceit that sur­rounds the fourth pres­i­dent of the demo­cratic era”, says the pub­lisher, NB.

Fol­low­ing pub­li­ca­tion on 29 Oc­to­ber, the SSA served NB and Pauw with a cease and de­sist let­ter on 1 Novem­ber over what it called “un­law­ful pub­li­ca­tion of clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion”. The let­ter said the book was “re­plete with in­ac­cu­ra­cies” and that it “com­pro­mise[s] the se­cu­rity of the state”, call­ing on Pauw and NB to with­draw the book and re­tract “all those parts which are in­ac­cu­rate”.

The SSA fol­lowed up last Thurs­day by con­firm­ing it had made a crim­i­nal com­plaint against Pauw. “Charges have been laid against Mr Pauw re­lat­ing to the con­tra­ven­tion of sev­eral sec­tions of the In­tel­li­gence Ser­vices Act,” SSA spokesman Brian Dube said.

NB said it stood by Pauw, with its lawyers study­ing the charges. The pub­lisher has de­clined to with­draw the book and Pauw has con­tin­ued to hold pub­lic sign­ings.

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