ANC 'Black Ops' publicist not rattled by death threats

2017-01-24 16:23
Sihle Bolani is comforted by her mother Phumla following the day's court proceedings. (Tshidi Madia, News24)

Sihle Bolani is comforted by her mother Phumla following the day's court proceedings. (Tshidi Madia, News24)

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Johannesburg - Public relations strategist Sihle Bolani will continue to fight the African National Congress, despite receiving death threats and losing a court application against the party.

"I have the truth on my side, they can duck and dive all they want, but [they] can't hide from the truth forever," Bolani said on Tuesday.

Bolani spoke to News24 minutes before the High Court in Johannesburg dismissed her urgent application against the ANC.

The publicist made damning claims in an affidavit that the ANC owed her R2.2m for work she had done during a covert campaign which was aimed at tarnishing the image of opposition parties.

Part of her job was to increase a positive narrative around the ruling party in the lead up to the 2016 municipal elections.

A tearful Bolani told News24 that she found it incredibly disheartening to realise there seemed to be no legal recourse available to those seeking to challenge a powerful organisation like the ANC.

READ: EXCLUSIVE: The ANC's R50m election 'black ops'

Intimidation case opened

"You realise they have their hands and feelers everywhere and everyone is too afraid to stand up for justice, because they think they are not going to get any more business opportunities from government, or sustain their businesses."

She said not was "insane" that the ANC continued to act with such impunity.

Earlier, she represented herself in court, claiming that no one wanted to assist her in taking on the ANC.

Bolani said she had also received calls, warning her to not pursue the matter.

Gauteng police spokesperson Kay Makhubela confirmed that a case of intimidation had been opened by Bolani in Norwood, Johannesburg, on Monday.

Amabhungane, a non-profit investigative journalism centre, reported that its journalist had also received what appears to be threatening messages while working on the story. The centre said it had reported the incidents to the ANC and the South African Police Service.

READ: Now ANC admits to 'off-books' election campaign

'A reflection of what they represent'

Phumla Bolani, the mother of Bolani, also broke down while trying to comfort her daughter. She said the ANC's actions did not make sense to her.

"It's a reflection of what they represent. [They] keep saying as leaders they need to choose people with the right character, but they keep doing things that are damaging to young women and men, especially young African women," she said.

She questioned how the ANC could cause her daughter, a young professional, misery at the same time that it was asking young black professionals to support the 105-year-old movement.

"You can't contract people and then say you are an NGO, how do they afford to pay for the celebrations of the January 8?"

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Bolani's mother said the celebrations were still continuing, with gala dinners costing more than R500 000 per table.

Amabungane reported earlier on Tuesday that the court had awarded costs in favour of the ANC after the party said that, as a non-government organisation, it relied mainly on membership fees.

'You are not here to change the ANC'

The ANC issued a defence, claiming that it had no dealings with Bolani. This is despite an affidavit from party general manager Ignatius Jacobs, admitting that Bolani had volunteered to work for the ANC in the lead up to the local government elections.

Bolani said, when she became involved in the project, the mandate was to establish positive rhetoric around the ANC and to destabilise the positive growth of opposition parties like the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Democratic Alliance.

"My initial approach was to first deal with the actual issues within the ANC, [like] being accountable, speaking to the people and being transparent," she said

She said that when she raised the issues, she was told: "You are not here to change the ANC, just do what you are here to do and leave. The rest is not your business, just take your money and go."

"Money that I ironically never got," said Bolani.

Read more on:    anc  |  politics 2017

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