News Brief

South Africa's Spy Agency Tried to Censor a Book About Zuma and It Backfired

The State Security Agency issued a cease-and-desist on a book about corruption in the Zuma administration but it's only making people want to read it more

A publishing company in South Africa has been threatened with a cease-and-desist by a South African government agency for a book it published this week on corruption in the Jacob Zuma administration. But the government's attempt at censorship is only adding to the book's appeal.

"The President's Keepers," by Jacques Pauw exposes the government of Jacob Zuma as "a gangster state," undergirded by "a trail of lies and spies, cronies, cash and kingmakers" who actively work to keep Zuma in power and avoid imprisonment, according to the book description.

The state agency demanded the publishers, NB Publishing Company withdraw the book from stores and retract sections. The company tweeted about the incident along with a copy of the letter.

The SSA cease-and-desist asserts that the Pauw's work poses a threat to the South African government. It claims that the book was in violation of the Intelligent Service Act, which endangers the safety of government officials.

Even if you're not a big reader, whatever is in the pages of the book that is causing the government so much fear makes you want to take a peak.



Here's how the sales are looking at one bookstore:




"As our client is constitutionally mandated to protect ensure the security of the state and protect it the identity of its members and its agents, it has a duty to act in instances where such security has been breached," said the SSA.

In the book, Pauw uncovers the secrets of Jacob Zuma's compromised government, says the description. The book summary also refers to the administration as a dangerous network that "eliminates the president's enemies and purges law-enforcement agencies of good men and women." But Pauw's work also shows that the line of who's controlling who is blurry.

As a means to suppress and control, the government's method has definitely backfired.

Not only has it signaled the possibility of increased book sales, but it has already sparked a larger conversation about the unfortunate irony of a government attacking the freedom of information in order to keep their own actions under wraps.



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