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“Perhaps the greatest wound that Zuma has inflicted upon our republic is that he has buried decency and accountability under rubbish heaps of sleaze and corruption.”


The President’s Keepers

What Happened When It Was Published

Within four days of the book’s publication it was cited in Parliamentary questions directed at the president by the opposition Democratic Alliance. On the 3 November 2017 the State Security Agency issued a cease and desist order to prevent more books being sold, arguing that the book contravened the Intelligence Service Act. SARS also stated that they would investigate initiating criminal charges against the author for publicising confidential tax records. The actions by the State Security Agency and SARS were criticised as censorship by the civil society organisations the Right2Know Campaign and Corruption Watch as well as by the South African Communist Party. Book stores and publishers refused to obey the cease and desist order arguing that the book was factual and its information was in the public interest. (The President’s Keepers, n.d.)

The Threat Of Censorship

The threat of censorship caused a spike in sales of the book causing it to sell out of its first print run of 20,000 books within 24 hours of State Security Agency’s cease and desist order as readers sought to get a copy before it possibly being banned, making the book an international best seller. The resulting shortage of books combined with the public fear of censorship resulted in a digitally pirated version of the book being widely shared in the few days following the cease and desist order. A launch of the book on the evening of Wednesday 8 November 2017 was cancelled after a power outage. During the launch, Pauw told attendees that he expected to spend years fighting legal battles. (The President’s Keepers, n.d.)

Who is Jacques Pauw?

Jacques Pauw is a South African investigative journalist who was an executive producer of the Special Assignment current affairs programme on SABC.

What is this book about?

The book details the creation and functioning of a “shadow mafia state” created by and surrounding President Zuma. It makes a number of serious allegations concerning the South African president such as that he did not pay taxes during his presidency, that he was illegally paid R1 million (US$70,000) a month by a private company whilst president, that he failed to pay back loans and that he has poor financial acumen.

The book also makes a number of accusations concerning associates of the president, such as: that the Gupta family groomed the children of African National Congress (ANC) politicians to gain political influence; that Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s 2017 campaign for ANC president is funded by a cigarette company engaged in corruption; and that a significant proportion of people appointed to power by the Zuma administration have been convicted, or have allegations against them, of engaging in criminal activity. It also contains details of the state capture of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the wasteful creation of a one billion rand (around US$ 70,000,000) spy agency within the State Security Agency that engaged in widespread corruption. (The President’s Keepers, n.d.)


The President’s Keepers. (n.d.). Retrieved 4 6, 2018, from Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_President’s_Keepers

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