Gauteng provincial police spokesman Colonel Lungelo Dlamini has told TimesLIVE that criminal charges had been opened against author and investigative journalist Jacques Pauw.
TimesLIVE understands that the charges were laid at Lyttleton police station in Pretoria against the journalist and author of controversial book The President’s Keepers earlier on Thursday. Sources of TimesLIVE said that the charges were laid by State Security Agency personnel.
“The SSA were at the police station yesterday (Wednesday). They were asking a lot of questions and there were discussions about this matter‚” said a source.
Pauw said via WhatsApp that he was not aware of the charges.
Dlamini said that he was not yet sure what docket had been opened or what the charges related to and asked that TimesLIVE contact him later.
Pauw’s book‚ which was released a week ago and later leaked on social media‚ has been at the centre of a row with the SSA and the SA Revenue Service.
It contains damning allegations about President Jacob Zuma and key state agencies and its contents‚ according to the State Security Agency‚ contravene the Intelligence Services Act.
The SSA had notified Pauw and NB Publishers several days ago that it intended to pursue legal action against him as it pushed for him to retract certain parts of the book and to have it taken out of circulation.
But Pauw and his publishers refused to bow to pressure‚ with his lawyers saying they were willing to battle the matter out in court. The book‚ meanwhile‚ has sold out with publishers rushing to print more to meet demand and it is a global best-seller on Amazon. It is the fastest-selling book since official Nielsen data gathering began in 2004‚ the publishers say.
Earlier on Tuesday NB Publishers issued a statement saying it noted death threats against Pauw with “grave concern“. “We view this in an extremely serious light and are taking steps to ensure his safety at all times. We will take legal steps against anyone making such threats‚” the publisher said.
Willem de Klerk‚ a lawyer for both Pauw and NB Publishers‚ wrote to the spy agency on Monday and said it was illogical for it to demand they shelve the book which has already been widely circulated.
“Your demand for a retraction ‘of all those parts which are inaccurate’ is therefore incongruous. It is further unclear how you reconcile an allegation of falsity‚ on the one hand‚ with an alleged violation of statutory provisions on the other‚” De Klerk said in a letter to the SSA.
It was unclear whether the SA Revenue Service would also join the spy agency in its bid to muzzle Pauw. Sars had accused him of violating tax laws when he revealed that Zuma failed to submit tax returns for years after he became president‚ despite Sars trying to get him to do so. The tax collector initially said it was still considering taking action.
by Graeme Hosken – TimesLIVE