07/11/2017 06:40 SAST | Updated 07/11/2017 06:40 SAST

Fraser Family: Pauw Book An Example Of 'Classic Journalistic Deception'

The family of Arthur Fraser has denied allegations made in Jacques Pauw's book, "The President's Keepers".

A staff member of the Exclusive Books bookshop at the Gateway Mall in Durban sets up a shelf with the new book 'The President's Keepers' written by investigative journalist and author Jacques Pauw.

The family of State Security Agency (SSA) director-general, Arthur Fraser, has accused "The President's Keepers" author Jacques Pauw of "classic journalistic deception" and has demanded that he retract his book, News24 reported.

Pauw's book reveals damning information about President Jacob Zuma, his tax affairs, as well as evidence that key officials in the state have committed wrongdoing in his name. One of these is Arthur Fraser, who Pauw writes was allegedly involved in a programme at the SSA which ran as a parallel investigative unit, swallowing millions of rands with little to show for it.

It is also alleged that Fraser hired members of his family as SSA agents and that they benefited from the programme. But the Fraser family denies this.

On Monday evening, in a statement, the family reportedly accused Pauw of wanting to influence the outcome of the 2019 general election.

"In his enthusiasm to influence ruling party politics and the 2019 general election, Pauw has allowed himself to be manipulated by an apartheid spy/double agent, who has scores to settle -- and is now hiding out in Russia. This is the man on whom Pauw largely relies for 'evidence' about the Fraser family contained in his book," the family said, referring to a former SSA agent now living in Russia interviewed by Pauw for the book.

While the Fraser family said it supports "the principle of a free press", it said this did not extend to "the right to slander people".

"A number of scurrilous and patently false allegations about the family, which has a distinguished record in South Africa's struggle for democracy, equality and justice...

"The family is briefing lawyers this week to set the record straight," the statement reportedly said.

The SSA has also threatened legal action if the book is not removed from shelves, but the publishers, NB, and book sellers like Exclusive Books have declined to do so.

The SA Revenue Services (Sars) has said it cannot comment on claims made in the book, specifically allegations that Zuma did not file tax returns for years, and that he owes the revenue service millions. Sars has also threatened legal action against Pauw.

But on Monday night, former Sars spokesman Adrian Lackay told the Karima Brown Show on Talk Radio 702 that Sars shows no consistency when it comes to protecting taxpayer's confidential information.

According to Eyewitness News (EWN), Lackay said: "Now we come to 2017, a book is published -- a very brave and courageous effort made by Jacques Pauw and his publishers, if I may add -- and exposés are made about the tax affairs of the head of the state. Suddenly the revenue service jumps into action and is threatening criminal charges."