JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s NB Publishers said on Friday it had received a letter from the State Security Agency (SSA) ordering it to pull a new book on President Jacob Zuma off the shelves as it contravened the Intelligence Service Act.
The publishers said they stood by “The President’s Keepers – Those keeping Zuma in power and out of prison”, and its lawyers would respond to the letter sent by the SSA.
The book by journalist Jacques Pauw alleges millions of dollars in taxpayers’ money flowed into the bank accounts of spies and Zuma’s government and details the actions of law-enforcement agencies. It alleges Zuma failed to submit tax returns for the first five years of his presidency.
The president’s office has issued a statement rejecting the accusations contained in the book, adding that Zuma had declared all income received to tax authorities.
The SSA warns NB Publishers in a letter seen by Reuters that it will launch criminal charges if the book is not withdrawn.
“Noting your admission that you did not seek the views of the people apparently implicated, it is not surprising that this book is replete with inaccuracies,” the SSA said in the letter sent to NB Publishers by its lawyers Kgoroeadira Mudau Inc.
The letter said the book contained elements in contravention of the country’s Intelligence Service Act.
No SSA spokesperson was available for further comment.
A spokeswoman for NB publishers said its lawyers were handling the matter.
“We have received the letter but have not pulled the book yet because our attorneys have been given time to respond,” Jean Pieters, NB Publisher’s spokeswoman said.
(Reporting by James Macharia; editing by Ralph Boulton)