3 November 2017

South Africa: Pauw Not Intimidated By SARS, SSA

Investigative journalist Jacques Pauw is not shocked that his latest exposé about President Jacob Zuma's alleged shady dealings is facing court action; only that it took so long, he said on Friday.

The latest Sunday Times edition carried an extract of his book, The President's Keepers , which alleged that Zuma received monthly payments of R1m from controversial tender mogul Roy Moodley without declaring it to the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

The book was released on Monday. SARS said on Friday that it was considering taking action, while a letter by the State Security Agency (SSA) demanded the book be withdrawn.

Pauw, who cut his journalistic teeth at Vrye Weekblad, where he and then editor Max du Preez exposed the apartheid regime's death squads, said on Friday that before the book was published, they obtained extensive legal advice from a senior advocate and that he had expected a legal challenge.

"I didn't think it would take this long," he said.

He said the SSA reacted five days after the book's publication.

"Why not earlier? The SSA was asleep when the book was published, quite frankly."

He said the information contained in his book was obtained legally and that he was entitled to have it.

Not intimidated

On Friday morning, SARS issued a statement saying it was considering taking criminal and civil steps against Pauw and the Sunday Times because it was "deeply concerned about the publication of confidential taxpayer information in contravention of Chapter 6 of the Tax Administration Act (TAA)".

It states that the TAA prohibits the disclosure of confidential taxpayer information outside judicial processes and, in particular, an order of the High Court and that SARS views the publication of "confidential taxpayer information" in the book and the Sunday Times as unlawful.

Hot on SARS's heels was a statement from Pauw's publisher, NB Publishers, saying that the SSA had sent them a cease and desist letter, demanding that they withdraw the book from stores and retract certain parts.

The SSA alleges that the book contains parts that are in contravention of the Intelligence Services Act.

"As our client is constitutionally mandated to ensure the security of the State and protect the identity of its members and agents, it has a duty to act in instances where such security is breached either by disclosure of its legitimate operational methods, classified documents, as well as the identity of its agents," says the letter.

He wondered whether the steps by SARS and the SSA was an admission that he was right.

"If it (the allegations in the book) is wrong, they don't have to worry," he said.

"I'm not sure what strategy they're following."

He said his legal team are dealing with the matter.

He said it was a pity that the messenger was being targeted, rather than the issues raised by The President's Keepers .

"I'm really not intimidated."

NB Publishers says it stands by Pauw and the book. Their attorney will respond to the SSA's letter.

Source: News24

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