#ThePresidentsKeepers: “If this the best way to let people know the truth then so be it”

President Jacob Zuma, surrounded by bodyguards, at the ANC Youth Day memorial event at Orlando Stadium.

Jacques Pauw’s hard-hitting book, The President’s Keepers, which makes claims about President Jacob Zuma being involved in corruption, is the centre of a court battle after the State Security Agency (SSA) issued Pauw and his publishers with a cease-and-desist letter, saying the book contravenes the Intelligence Service Act. The Daily Vox asked Durbanites whether they think the book should be removed from shelves or if books like these enhance our democracy.

Chantel Khan, 35, stay-at-home mother, Newlands East
I think the book should be taken off the shelf. There’s too much written about fraud in the book which makes people think its okay if you can expose fraud to people, why can they do it too because nothing is being done about [corruption]. If our government is corrupt that means anyone can be. We have kids growing up and if they read this book while growing up they will think it’s okay, “it sounds exciting – let’s do it”. I prefer not to hear about this negative news all the time. I can watch news but afterwards it is out of sight and out of mind.

SSA demanded the book be removed from shelves because it has “compromised state security”. They have threatened to take Pauw to court if the book is not removed from circulation by Tuesday.

Raeesa Ali, 20, debt collector, Newlands
Everybody wants to know what is happening and why money is taken from us to be used for families. Its important for us to have proof of these deals. It is good that the corruption is being recorded. We need a responsible person like Jacques who is on the country’s side instead of Zuma’s side. For state security to ask for the book to be removed is cheating and who would want to vote for people that are cheating us? Many of us young people cannot afford fees and this book shows you that the government is keeping us from being educated.

The South African Revenue Service has also accused Pauw of violating the Tax Administration Act by revealing the president’s tax details.

Nothando Mthembu, 27, banker, Inanda
It’s not fair that State Security wants the book removed from stores; we need to be informed about the corruption within the government. People need be informed so we can vote for another party that can take the country to the next level. More needs to be done for the underprivileged people. Where I am from, rural Ndwedwe, there is still no electricity, so money could be used for service delivery.

A pirated version of the book is circulating online because people believe it was removed from shelves. Pauw said on Facebook that the book was still available in stores, but that those with the pirated copy should feel free to read it if they cannot afford the book.

Nishola Harricharan, 34, marketing strategist, Reservoir Hills
The book shouldn’t be discontinued because it is infringing on our right to freedom. Everyone is in cahoots with Zuma, people don’t matter nor does the Constitution. All that matters is how much can be stolen from us. These books give people a greater understanding of what actually is happening. The majority of the population is uneducated and the government wants to keep us uneducated so that we don’t learn about the true motives behind the government’s actions. I know there were many pirated copies of the book being shared but if this the best way to let people know the truth then so be it.

Featured image by Gulshan Khan