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Law expert: Pauw facing expensive criminal case if charges laid

The State Security Agency says that certain parts of the book contravene the Intelligence Services Act on Thursday.

Veteran journalist Jacques Pauw speaks at the launch of his book 'The President's Keepers' at the Brooklyn Mall in Pretoria on 9 November 2017. Picture: Louise McAuliffe/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Investigative journalist Jacques Pauw could face an expensive criminal case if charges are laid against him in relation to the contents of his new book, The President’s Keepers.

The book contains allegations against President Jacob Zuma relating to corruption and irregularities with his tax affairs.

The State Security Agency says that certain parts of the book contravene the Intelligence Services Act. On Thursday, it opened a case at the Lyttleton Police Station.

The Hawks say that no one has been charged at this stage but they are investigating a possible leak of classified information.

Law professor James Grant says this may be an intimidation tactic with high legal costs.

“I have no doubt whatsoever and in these circumstances I expected good South Africans to stand up and assist anybody who’s being intimidated and bullied by the state.”

Pauw is on Friday meeting with his legal team to prepare for any eventuality following confirmation of an investigation related to his book.

WATCH: Pauw to Zuma: Stop hiding behind laws to hide crime

The second leg of the launch of Pauw’s book went ahead without incident on Thursday night in Pretoria.

Pauw says that no charge has been laid against him despite State Security Agency stating the contrary.

“Despite what the State Security Agency said that they laid a charge against me, the Hawks said no it’s not a charge, it’s only a complaint.”

He says that a move to charge him under the Intelligence Services Act will just prove the book's contents to be true.

Pauw laughed off the SSA’s threats to charge him, saying that they were idiocy.

Meanwhile, the State Security Agency says it’s still exploring its options over whether to proceed with a court interdict to take Pauw’s book off the shelves.

The agency has opened criminal cases against the author and the book's publisher.

The Hawks are investigating a possible leak of classified information but no one has been charged at this stage.

The State Security Agency’s Brian Dube says: "The agency is considering a number of legal options available to it, so that will be determined as time goes."

Speaking at the launch of the book at a Pretoria mall on Thursday, former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan lauded Pauw, saying that South Africa needs more people like him to help tackle corruption.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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