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Corruption Watch condemns calls for withdrawal of ‘The President’s Keepers’

Corruption Watch says it fully supports the critical role played by investigative journalists in exposing and combatting corruption.

Corruption Watch's David Lewis. Picture: corruptionwatch.org.za

JOHANNESBURG - Corruption Watch has condemned the State Security Agency and the South African Revenue Service (Sars) for threats made against investigative journalist Jacques Pauw to withdraw his book The President’s Keepers.

It says these actions show that state institutions have been captured with the intention of protecting the president.

Corruption Watch says it fully supports the critical role played by investigative journalists in exposing and combatting corruption.

It says it’s concerning that these institutions are trying hard to ensure that President Jacob Zuma continues to act with impunity and is not held accountable.

Executive Director David Lewis said: “I think that what Sars and the State Security Agency are doing is simply to protect the president. They’re not acting to protect the security of the state; they’re acting to protect the security of the president basically. And that’s why we’re deeply opposed to this threat delivered by both Sars and the SSA.”

Pauw's book The President's Keepers claims that Zuma failed to submit his tax returns for at least the first five years of his presidency.

Sars says that it is deeply concerned about the publication of confidential taxpayer information.

It says it’s seeking legal advice on what steps to take, including but not limited to criminal and civil investigations against Pauw.

The revenue service says the publication of confidential taxpayer information is unlawful and it is duty-bound to address the violation of the Tax Administration Act.

Pauw's publishing house, NB Publishers say they have received a cease and desist letter from the State Security Agency, demanding that they withdraw the book from all stores.