“The President’s Keepers” was published this past Monday and the South African Agency (SSA) sent a letter to NB Publishers dated 1 November 2017 for the book to be removed from the shelves.
The Publishers only posted their receipt of the letter yesterday:
The book has been sold out and has already gone viral on social media Whatsapp. This therefore begs the question: Why did SSA take so long to prohibit the distribution of the book and, would a court declaration if it were to be granted, make any difference to the reasons they posit in their cease-and-desist demand?
I say not at all. The State secrets to which they refer in their letter are already known and the identities of the agents revealed. The letter also mentions inaccuracies in the book which the parties concerned will need to find other remedies and these could include defamatory lawsuits. Hopefully within the court system those inaccuracies would be cleared.
The simple fact of the matter is that you cant prohibit what has already happened. The book was reviewed in a Sunday Times front page and SSA should have on that day tried to halt the distribution of the book. It didn’t. As we say in street lingo, walala wa sala.
The President’s Keepers alleges among others, that Zuma received monthly payments of R1m from controversial tender mogul Roy Moodley without declaring it to the South African Revenue Service (SARS).
SARS said on Friday that it was considering taking action.
The letter from SSA’s lawyers reads, in part: “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. We record that it is the duty of the author, editor, and publisher to ensure the accuracy thereof…..
“…we record that the book contains parts that are in contravention of the Intelligence Service Act of 2002. 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….
“While our client notes the inaccuracies contained in the book, it is more concerned with those parts which are of criminal nature and constitute a violation of the relevant intelligence statutes and thus compromise the security of the State. Among other things, our client is concerned with the following parts, which are either criminal or in violation of the Intelligence Services Act or any other legislation:
Here’s the full letter: Unlawful Publication Classified Info Nov2017