JOHANNESBURG - “The table is set; Zuma’s keepers have taken their seats. It is time for the great disentangling; the final face-off between the good and the bad in the ANC.”
So writes veteran journalist, Jacques Pauw, in his bestselling book, The President’s Keepers: Those Keeping Zuma in Power. Pauw makes several revelations about how President Jacob Zuma has been propped up for years by people protecting him in the Hawks, National Prosecuting Authority, Crime Intelligence, police and State Security Agency, thereby creating a “state within a state”. The claims are so explosive that the State Security Agency is attempting to have the book banned.
If you have not managed to obtain a copy of this sold-out book yet, here are some of its key points:
1. The State Security Agency (SSA) wasted over R1-billion of taxpayers’ money during a three-year period on an intelligence programme called the Principal Agent Network (PAN). Auditors found it was rife with corruption and wasteful expenditure. For example, Arthur Fraser was appointed the director-general of the SSA despite evidence he misappropriated hundreds of millions of rand, as well as further evidence that he was guilty of treason. The book states that investigations and cases against Fraser were repeatedly killed and that he was protected due to his closeness to President Jacob Zuma.
2. The book details Jacob Zuma’s financial recklessness even before he became president. Zuma opened multiple bank accounts and was granted loan after loan even though he never paid his debts. Evidence is also presented that Zuma did not pay tax for the first five years of his presidency and that SARS had to beg him to submit his returns and become tax compliant. It was also revealed that for the first four months of his presidency, Zuma was on the payroll of a private security company and earned around R1-million a month. It is illegal for someone to be employed by a private company while occupying the highest office in the land.
3. Pauw describes how the country’s (once) most lauded and respected institution, the South African Revenue Service (SARS), was captured by a Zuma lackey, Tom Moyane. High-level investigations into fraudsters, cigarette smugglers and gangsters were halted and quashed despite overwhelming evidence and complete investigations. This after Moyane got rid of top officials and investigators like Ivan Pillay and Johann van Loggerenberg at SARS, by falsely implicating them in wrongdoing. The businessmen, smugglers and gangsters are all tied either to the president or to the president’s sons, Duduzane and Edward.
4. The book also details how Zuma installed stooges at key law enforcement agencies, despite some having criminal allegations and evidence against them (like the former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli) or courts having condemned their conduct as dishonest, like deputy prosecutions head Nomgcobo Jiba, former commercialised crime unit head Lawrence Mrwebi and former disgraced Hawks head, Berning Ntlemeza. Anyone who tried to investigate and reveal corruption was targeted through dismissals, intimidation, demotions, trumped-up criminal charges and endless court cases. “The problem with the recent history of crime intelligence is this: there is little honour, no moral compass, a complete lack of integrity. And that is why South Africans should be very, very concerned,” writes Pauw.
5. The book also sheds light on the president's relationship with dubious characters. There is new information about the Guptas’ influence on the appointments of people to key law enforcement institutions. It also shows how gangsters and fraudsters have developed personal relationships with Zuma’s close family members, and often have links to the president himself.