Threats by the State Security Agency (SSA) to act to silence the latest source of mounting evidence that President Jacob Zuma should resign are cause for serious concern, the South African Communist Party (SACP) said on Sunday.
“The SACP is also aware of a plan by the same rogue intelligence structures that we have been talking about to bring concocted charges against some of our party leaders. These manoeuvres are not based on legitimate grounds but rogue intelligence manufacturing of information. It is time all patriotic South Africans stand up against this destruction of our country,” the SACP said in a statement.
The SSA had threatened to go to court to get large parts of veteran investigative journalist Jacques Pauw’s book “The President’s Keepers – those keeping Zuma in power and out of prison” banned, warning the publishers in writing to withdraw the book or face “criminal charges” under the Intelligence Services Act on Tuesday, November 7. The South African Revenue Service (Sars) had hinted that it too might go to court to “ban” the book.
“So far the publishers have refused. What the book contains is a test, and a challenge, on whether our state institutions have both the capacity and the willingness to deal with malfeasance in our state,” the SACP said.
“Pauw’s book comes as our country struggles to absorb the enormity of the state capture project, first exposed by the augmented central committee of the SACP in November 2014, and then further by the former public protector’s report titled the “State of Capture”, and very recently by amaBhungane journalists in their Gupta leaks email stories.
“But Pauw’s book is far more directly focused on the president and on allegations about his personal attempts to undermine constitutional systems and protections millions of South Africans suffered to achieve than on the vast web of corruption he has allowed to grow during his terms.”
The book claims, “among a string of other felonies”, that Zuma did not file tax returns for the first five years of his presidency; secretly received a “salary” of R1-million a month from a covert benefactor for months after being elected president; owed a massive R63-million in unpaid taxes that he was desperately attempting to dodge; and was being assisted in this by Sars commissioner Tom Moyane.
“In a country with millions unemployed – and millions of them unable to adequately feed and support their families – we cannot allow this level of what can only be described as theft,” the SACP said.
“Pauw is among South Africa’s leading investigative journalists. His writing in the late 1980s and early 1990s ripped aside the veil of lies and deceit to expose the activities of apartheid’s death squads under Eugene de Kok and the regime’s attempts to use the Inkatha Freedom Party as a secret military ‘third force’ to undermine our liberation movement. He has a strong and consistent journalistic track record of reporting accurately and courageously on facts that undemocratic and corrupt regimes in our country would rather keep hidden from our people.
“There can be no doubt that Pauw’s allegations are so grave that it is in the public interest that all South Africans be made aware of them. It is to be noted that both state agencies threatening to get Pauw’s book banned have been subject to major state capture initiatives,” the SACP said.
“And it is also worth noting Pauw’s response to reports that a pirated PDF version of ‘The President’s Keepers’ is circulating widely on social media: ‘If you have a PDF copy and can afford to buy a book, please do it … If you cannot afford a book, go for it and read it. You have my blessing. This is not about money. It is about your support that is going to enable us to legally lock horns with … whoever drags us to court’.”