S.African publishers of Zuma book vow to fight gag efforts
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JOHANNESBURG, Nov 7 — The publishers of a book alleging widespread corruption against South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma vowed yesterday to resist a demand from the country’s spy agency that they withdraw it.
The State Security Agency demanded on Friday that NB Publishers remove from bookstores the work by investigative journalist Jacques Pauw after alleging it contained classified intelligence.
They also claimed that the book, The President’s Keepers, was “replete with inaccuracies”.
The publishers said in a legal letter that “the information contained in the book is true and of undeniable interest”.
The book, released last month, paints a vivid picture of Zuma’s scandal-tainted presidency as corrupt, incompetent and nepotistic.
It also chronicles how the head of state has purged his adversaries in the political and security establishment since coming to power in 2009.
The publishers said it will “not desist from making the book available to the public, will not withdraw the book from the market, and will not retract” any of its claims.
The legal note also reiterated claims of “wide-scale financial mismanagement, fraud and corruption” against Zuma and vowed to oppose any court application to have the book banned.
A digital version of the book leaked onto social media at the weekend and was widely shared after the author told fellow South Africans “if you cannot afford a book, go for it and read it. You have my blessing. This is not about money”.
Zuma has weathered several corruption storms during his time in government and is currently facing the prospect that prosecutors could reinstate 783 graft charges relating to a 1990s arms deal.
The book comes at a time when he is fighting for political survival after a string of allegations linking him to a controversial Indian business family accused robbing of state-run enterprises. — AFP