Picture: Siyabulela Duda/ANA

Johannesburg - Director-General of the State Security Agency Arthur Fraser's family on Monday demanded that author Jacques Pauw "retract lies" contained in his new book The President's Keepers – Those keeping Zuma in power and out of prison.

Pauw penned the explosive book which exposes, among others, an alleged plot by President Jacob Zuma to quash his massive R63 million tax bill, his failure to submit his tax returns during at least the first five years of his presidency, and how Zuma kept receiving a secret monthly pay cheque from a friend despite being paid by the State as president.

The book also revealed how millions of rands were deposited into the accounts of fake spies and how Zuma manipulated state institutions such as the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) as well as the Hawks. 

Pauw and his publisher NB Publishers have since been slapped with a cease and desist letter from the SSA, but vowed to defend the book in court. 

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The Fraser family in a statement accused Pauw of "committing the classic journalistic deception of not allowing facts to get in the way of a good story".

"In his enthusiasm to influence ruling party politics and the 2019 general election, Pauw has allowed himself to be manipulated by an apartheid spy/double agent who has scores to settle – and is now hiding out in Russia. 

"This is the man on whom Pauw largely relies for 'evidence' about the Fraser family contained in his book."

Fraser's family went on to slam Pauw for numerous "false allegations" made about the family,"which has a distinguished record in South Africa’s struggle for democracy, equality and justice".

These included allegations that a Fraser sister was married to 'all powerful' intelligence officer Graham Engel as well as claims that Barry Fraser was the director of a company and NGO that benefitted from an alleged intelligence operation dubbed Principal Agent Network (PAN).

"The statement that 83-year-old Mrs CF Fraser is a PAN agent would be laughable if it wasn't so hurtful and malicious," the family added. 

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The family added that, with the current state of the country's political climate, reporters had a responsibility to  maintain critical distance from their subjects and check their facts before rushing into print. 

The failure to do so could render them political pawns, the family said.

"The Fraser family supports the principle of a free press holding government to account and contributing to the fight against corruption and abuses of power and/or state resources. But the principle does not extend to the right to slander people.

"Pauw has unjustly accused the Fraser family of criminal activity. The family is briefing lawyers this week to set the record straight."