NEWS

SSA Issues Second Threat, This Time Addressed To Jacques Pauw's Editor

"It was a demand exactly like the previous one but addressed to Martin. It was completely misplaced. He merely edited the book," said the editor's lawyer.

09/11/2017 05:50 SAST | Updated 09/11/2017 09:14 SAST
GIANLUIGI GUERCIA / AFP / Getty Images
South African veteran investigative Journalist Jacques Pauw looks on as a power failure occurs during the official presentation of his latest book 'The President's Keepers' in Johannesburg, South Africa on November 8, 2017.

The State Security Agency has sent yet another cease-and-desist letter to get "The President's Keepers" withdrawn from bookshelves, but this time the letter was sent to its title editor, Russel Martin.

Authur and veteran journalist Jacques Pauw announced during the official launch of his book that the SSA's cease-and-desist letter gave him two days to withdraw the book or he could face being taken to court.

"I'm not trying to make a joke out of this. I might have to spend the next few years in court. There is a still going to be big action from law enforcement agencies... The legal reaction... shows a complete idiocy in the law enforcement agency at the moment," he said.

"The tide has started and nothing is going to stop it," Pauw said.

His lawyer, Willem de Klerk, confirmed to News24 that Martin had received the "threatening" letter.

It was a demand exactly like the previous one but addressed to Martin. It was completely misplaced. He merely edited the book. He had no part in writing the book or the decision making.

'Threatening letter'

De Klerk said the recent action by the SSA would not deter Pauw nor NB Publishers from distributing the book.

He said he wrote back to the SSA explaining Martin's role in the book.

The SSA first sent a cease-and-desist letter to Pauw last week demanding that he withdraw his book in two days.

"That lapsed on Monday and they sent another threatening letter," Pauw said during the launch.

Pauw's book exposes how millions of rands of taxpayers' money flowed into the bank accounts of bogus spies, along with other revelations about President Jacob Zuma's compromised government.

READ: The President's Keepers: South Africa's Fastest-Selling Book Ever

The cease-and-desist letters follows a statement released by the SA Revenue Service on Friday morning indicating that it was seeking legal advice on what steps to take, which could include, but not be limited to, criminal and civil investigations against Pauw into the circumstances pertaining to the unlawful disclosure of confidential taxpayer information.

Pauw's book was released last week, but Exclusive Books said it had already had to more than triple its print order. The book was sold out two days after it was released last Sunday.

Exclusive Books CEO Benjamin Trisk thanked the SSA for being "the best marketing team" for the book, adding that sales from the book were one of its biggest in the history in the first week.