This Is Why The SSA Wants Jacques Pauw's Zuma Book Gone

Pauw's allegations are a startling indictment of South Africa's intelligence agencies and their relationship with President Jacob Zuma.
President Jacob Zuma.
President Jacob Zuma.
AFP/Getty Images

A top-secret state intelligence programme had allegedly guzzled as much as R1-billion of taxpayers' money in just three years.

Intelligence operatives were used to get Zuma off the hook on 783 counts of fraud, corruption and racketeering.

These are just some of the claims made in Jacques Pauw's book, "The President's Keepers", which the State Security Agency (SSA) wants off the shelves immediately.

It emerged on Friday that the SSA had issued the book's publishers a cease-and-desist letter demanding that they withdraw the book from stores and retract parts of the book. The SSA is also threatening criminal charges.

This comes after an earlier statement by the South African Revenue Service (SARS), which said they are seeking legal advice on what steps to take in establishing criminal and civil investigations into Pauw and the Sunday Times and the circumstances pertaining to the "unlawful disclosure" of "confidential taxpayer information".

The SSA clearly wants the book off the shelves. Here, according to some of the allegations detailed in Pauw's book, is why:

  • In 2009, internal SSA auditors targeted the Principal Agent Network programme (PAN), a top-secret state intelligence programme, and found that it had used as much as R1-billion of taxpayers' money in just three years.
  • PAN agents had carte blanche to use public money for a range of secret projects, and the programme was riddled with wastage, corruption and nepotism. This corruption and wasteful expenditure far exceeded the costs of Zuma's Nkandla homestead.
  • After the audit, the SSA's head of domestic intelligence, Gibson Njenje, called a meeting. At the meeting was SSA legal boss, Kobus Meiring, and SSA advocate, Paul Engelke.
  • Njenje told Meiring and Engelke to investigate the PAN programme, which was the brainchild of Njenje's predecessor, Manala Manzini and his deputy, Arthur Fraser.
  • It later turned out that Fraser may have planned to create a parallel and detached intelligence network that operated independently of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). Meiring and Engelke found that in doing so, he had committed treason.
  • In one instance, PAN had purchased 293 vehicles for 72 agents. When they needed a storage warehouse, they paid Fraser's brother R24-million to rent a space.
  • In another instance, both Manzini and Fraser where fingered for having forced the chief financial officer of the NIA to release millions of rands to the Covert Support Unit –– a violation to the agency's regulatory framework.
  • Investigators found that PAN's projects were badly planned and managed, and none had individual authorisation, operational plans or budgets. They were often initiated by Fraser through verbal instruction.
  • But the most damning finding of the PAN investigation was that Fraser intended to create an alternative intelligence capacity, where he would be the sole recipient of the information the programme gathered.
  • Agents sent intelligence reports to Fraser instead of the NIA. When the SSA removed Fraser's server from his home, they found 800 reports that had failed to reach the NIA.
  • However, Fraser saved President Jacob Zuma from prosecution, thereby making him bulletproof.
  • In May 2007, a top-secret report was leaked which showed that Zuma's presidential ambitions were allegedly fueled and funded by corrupt African leaders. But then-President Thabo Mbeki appointed Fraser to head investigations into the report.
  • During Fraser's investigation into the Browse Mole report, the NIA tapped the phones of several high-ranking officials mentioned in it, including Leonard McCarthy, who was (now-defunct serious crimes investigation unit) the Scorpions boss.
  • On the tapes were discussions on when would be the most politically damaging time to charge Zuma. That was the golden key –– because of what later came to be known as the Spy Tapes, the NPA dropped Zuma's charges in 2009.