One of journalist Jacques Pauw’s key sources for his explosive book was so spooked by the prospect of being sniffed out that he considered confessing to sharing secret information with the author of The President’s Keepers.
Speaking at the much-anticipated launch of the book in Pretoria on Thursday evening‚ the author said he had to go see the “panicky” man to calm him down and assure him that that he had nothing to worry about.
“Just before publication I decided to cut all communication with my sources…we were communicating through Telegram where you can send encrypted messages‚” he said.
Pauw has revealed that he has received at least three death threats since the book was leaked and published over a week ago but is unfazed because‚ he said‚ no one warns you if they are really going to kill you.
The threats of legal action by SA Revenue Services and attempts by the State Security Agency to muzzle Pauw have boosted sales of the book‚ which lays bare the extent of rot and “a shadow mafia state”.
It emerged on Thursday that the SSA had laid charges against Pauw‚ with fears of him being arrested during the launch. But Pauw said what they had since established was that the spy agency had only laid a complaint.
“Our attorney tried to communicate with the Hawks…and apparently as far as he can understand only a complaint‚ they have only received a complaint from the State Security Agency about the leaking of secret information‚” he said.
But Pauw said he was nevertheless prepared for any eventuality as “anything can happen” and has since prepared an application for bail should he get arrested because he believes neither the SSA nor the Hawks.
“I don’t believe either of them…we are consulting with senior counsel [on Friday]…we will prepare an application for bail should I get arrested. We do not know‚ anything can happen‚” he said.
Pauw said he could not think how he could be charged for publishing false information because “[SSA] would have broken the law so there has to be truth‚ there has to be substance in what we have published otherwise they would not charge me. The same goes for SARS who says I have contravened the Tax Administration Act by publishing taxpayers’ information. Well I haven’t published the true information of the taxpayer‚ it cannot be a crime”.
He said he had expected this but he was hoping that the SSA would be more professional about it.
“If I look at the way they have conducted themselves so far‚ I do not think I have anything to fear‚” he said.