It’s a blackout success for Zuma’s Keepers

Jacque Paauw's banned book, The President's Keepers

It may have been coincidence, but Jacques Pauw’s launch of The President’s Keepers – a book which details the corruptive practice of President Jacob Zuma and his acolytes – was blacked out in Johannesburg. Preparations have begun for bumper launches in Cape Town at The Book Lounge and the Cape Town Press Club

It was reported that there was a massive power outage at Exclusive Books at the Hyde Park Shopping Centre which was besieged by book buyers – albeit mainly an army of white people – on Wednesday. It was reported the lights went out just as Pauw addressed the crowd. Eskom was reported to have taken responsibility for the unplanned power cut.

According to EWN, investigative journalist Pauw – who lives in Riebeek Kasteel in the Western Cape – told the audience that there’s a lot of money being poured into state security agencies. He described the State Security agency as ”a black hole” used for fraud and corruption.

EWN reported Pauw as saying: “Crime Intelligence has a budget as a secret fund of around R600 million a year. Nobody audits that, it’s a black hole in which they pour your money and now they are saying to me: we’re going to take you to court.”

Last week the book was sold out at Cape Town bookstores after the State SecurityAgency demanded from the publishers, Tafelberg, that it be removed from the shelves. This ensured its instant success as books flew off the shelves. By Saturday morning all bookstores were out of stock.

Although there was an overwhelming response from the capacity Johannesburg crowd, not all were impressed with the event. Sunday Times journalist Qaanitah Hunter – a political journalist – said on Facebook: “So the Jacques Pauw book launch … the book is so important for democracy and for South Africa. His investigations are superb and he needs to be celebrated.

But she went on. “I cannot ignore what I saw at the launch… there was another level of white privilege using the contents of the book to justify their racism and anti-black sentiment.”

“I was in the back and there was a smug sense of ‘you see what happens when you put blacks in charge’.” Within five minutes of Hunter arriving at the venue, she reported, “I was pushed to one side, told to shut up and (was) spoken down at.  It was only when they realized that I work for the Sunday Times did the tune change,” she reported.

“The President’s Keepers tells a story of the dismal state of South African politics. But the launch painted a horrible picture of South African society. The book, it appeared, justified their racism and privilege.”

The Book Lounge will launch the book in Cape Town on Wednesday 15 November at 5.30 pm.

The Cape Town Press Club in association with Kelvin Grove is holding a bumper function in the facility’s Ball Room on Tuesday 21 November.

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