Investigative journalist and author Jacques Pauw, the author of the biggest political exposè to hit the country recently – The President’s Keepers – says he has received several death threats over his damning book about President Jacob Zuma’s alleged tax evasion and dodgy dealings with gangsters.
Pauw says the most recent death threat was on Monday evening from an anonymous caller who warned him to stop writing about Zuma, or he would be killed.
“I had two death threats on Saturday, and I had quite a nasty one last night [Monday]. I suppose it comes with a book like this,” Pauw said on Tuesday morning in an interview with SABC News.
He said he was on the phone with former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils when he received the call.
Kasrils has also published a new book about Zuma titled, A Simple Man: Kasrils and the Zuma Enigma, which traces Zuma’s character from his exile days to being South Africa’s first citizen.
“There are some very unhappy people out there. We were discussing his new book, and while I was talking to Ronnie there was a private number, it was somebody who was trying to phone me.
“At some point I said to Ronnie it could be my lawyer [and] I have to take the call. And when I took it, it was somebody who said to me, ‘if you don’t stop writing about President Jacob Zuma, you are going to be dead,’ and then they put the phone down,” Pauw explained.
However, Pauw said he was unfazed by the threats on his life.
“I have had many death threats in my life before, but I have always thought if somebody threatens you, they are not going to do it, it’s those ones who don’t threaten you [who kill you], but I am not overly concerned about it,” he said.
In the book, Pauw exposes, among others, an alleged plot by Zuma to quash his massive R63-million tax bill, his failure to submit his tax returns during at least the first five years of his presidency, and how Zuma kept receiving secret monthly pay cheques from a friend despite being paid by the state as president.
On Friday, the South African State Security Agency (SSA) issued Pauw and his publisher, NB Publishers, with a “cease and desist” order from publishing his controversial book, saying the book was “replete with inaccuracies” and threatened national security.
The South African Revenue Service has also threatened legal action against him.
NB Publishers on Monday denied the SSA claims and circulated a lawyer’s letter to the SSA, in which it said it would not desist from making Pauw’s book publicly available.
– Additional reporting African News Agency