The State Security Agency (SSA) sent out a second cease-and-desist letter to get The President’s Keepers removed from the shelves on Tuesday.
Journalist and author of the book Jacques Pauw said on Wednesday night the SSA had sent their second cease-and-desist letter to the editor Russell Martin.
“I don’t know who these people are that are advising the minister of state security and the director general of state security‚” Pauw said.
“Obviously what the State Security Agency lawyers did was they opened the book and they looked at the credits and there they saw editor and they thought‚ ‘My god‚ now we have him.’ They were obviously thinking in terms of newspapers.”
The SSA in their first letter to the publisher last week said the book contravened the Intelligence Service Act and wanted parts of the book recalled. They gave the publishers five days to respond and threatened to bring an urgent court application. The latest letter gave Martin another two days to respond.
“I’m not trying to make a joke out of this‚ because I might spend the next two or three years of my life in court … There’s still going to come a big reaction from the law enforcement agencies.”
NB Publishers lawyer Willem de Klerk told the SSA in an earlier letter that either the contents of the book were false or they contravened the Intelligence Service Act‚ but they could not be both‚ as the SSA claimed.
“Your generalised statement that the book is ‘replete with inaccuracies’ is not backed up by a single reference to any specific statement in the book that is alleged to be inaccurate‚” the letter said.
The book alleges current SSA Director General Arthur Fraser was complicit in looting hundreds of millions from the agency’s Principle Agent Network (PAN) slush fund and that he was potentially guilty of treason for setting up a computer server at his home into which the PAN reports were fed.
Exclusive Books CEO Benjamin Trisk said on Wednesday the SSA attempts to gag the book made them the “best marketing team” as it continues to fly off the shelves.
The SSA’s cease-and-desist letters came after the South African Revenue Service (SARS) threatened criminal charges against Pauw‚ because the book contains allegations about President Jacob Zuma’s income and tax affairs. SARS said it viewed the publication of confidential taxpayer information as unlawful.
Pauw alleges in his book that Zuma was on the payroll of a security company owned by one of his benefactors‚ pocketing R1-million a month for some time after becoming president.
He also writes that Zuma failed to submit tax returns for years after he became president‚ despite SARS urging him to do so.