Cape Town - The South African Revenue Services (Sars) has filed papers in the Western Cape High Court against Jacques Pauw, investigative journalist and author of The President's Keepers.
Sars accuses him of transgressing the Tax Administrations Act by disclosing confidential taxpayers' information.
Pauw told African News Agency he was astonished when he received the notice of motion, but felt it was an admission that the revelations contained in his book were true: "It is not an attack on the credibility of the book but is confirmation of the credibility of the book".
"They simply want an order that I've broken the law. What then?"
He said the matter would be dealt with early in the new year as lawyers are currently on holiday: "I'm not worried about this, we'll fight it. I'm sure there is more coming".
Pauw said charges had already been laid at Hatfield police station in Johannesburg making this move an "utter surprise".
An affadavit attached to the motion by Sars boss Tom Moyane quotes from about 15 pages of the book that contravene the act. These include payments made to President Jacob Zuma and Edward Zuma. It also includes Pauw's revelations about Cape gangster Mark Liffman and others owing Sars hundreds of millions of rand.
Moyane said the declaratory order sought was necessary because of the "importance and magnitude of the contravention".
"Such declaratory orders are imperative in order to give confidence to the public knowing that taxpayer information would not be willy-nilly disclosed by third parties who have no authority to be in possession of such information and to disclose it without consequence".
Earlier this month, a criminal investigation was instituted against Pauw in Durban. Colonel Reuben Govender, who reportedly has a reputation for intimidating suspects, was the investigating officer. The case was subsequently removed from him, and placed with the provincial head office.
Pauw said lawyers acting for him in Durban did so pro bono and that he had been overwhelmed by the "good will" of people.
"I don't want to be involved in legal disputes for the next two years of my life, but if that's what they want to do, we'll fight".
African News Agency/ANA