ANC’s ‘dirty tricks department’ behind hoax mail – Zille

2010-04-20 10:23

An email allegedly recording racial slurs by a senior official of

the Western Cape provincial government is a fake, forensic investigators have


The email was released to the media on April 7 by the interim

leader of the ANC in the province, Membathisi Mdladlana.

It was purportedly written by acting Stellenbosch municipal manager

Duppie du Plessis to local government MEC Anton Bredell.

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille told journalists today that her

department commissioned auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers to look into the

document, and had received its report.

Zille said: “The email in question was a fake. The independent

investigation has confirmed our initial suspicion that this was a hoax designed

to discredit the Democratic Alliance and the Western Cape provincial government.

In fact it bears all the hallmarks of the ANC’s dirty tricks department.”

She said the probe had cost R72 000, but she did not see why the

public should bear the cost of investigating an ANC smear.

“I have today written to Membathisi Mdladlana and Lynn Brown [ANC

leader in the legislature] to request the ANC to foot the bill for the


“I have given the ANC five working days to respond to my letter. If

no satisfactory response is forthcoming, we will consult our lawyers to

ascertain the legal options available to us,” Zille said.

Zille released the PricewaterhouseCoopers report, in which it was

stated that the ANC’s document did not have the same details such as date format

and signature as genuine emails sent from the address of the municipal manager

at Stellenbosch.

Du Plessis, it said, did not have access to the Stellenbosch server

at the time the message was allegedly sent, and there was no trace of the

alleged email on any of the servers used to process the flow of emails from

Stellenbosch to the provincial government.

The report stated: “Based on the work performed by us we conclude

that the alleged email was not sent by Mr Du Plessis to Mr Bredell.”

Du Plessis said on Tuesday he had not seen the report, or been

officially told of the findings: “I haven’t read it yet, so I can’t express

myself on anything regarding it. I prefer to act on facts. I’ll apply my mind

after I’ve read the facts.”

However, he added that the incident showed “how low politics in

South Africa goes”.

The hoax email is dated March 8 and contains a discussion of

by-election results, and of infighting in the Stellenbosch municipality, which

is controlled by an alliance of Zille’s DA, the Independent Democrats and other


At one point the writer uses the words “you can’t trust a hotnot”,

and at another “the one kaffir is leaving the job this week”.

Du Plessis, formerly an adviser in Zille’s office, was seconded to

the municipal post in December, after the alliance took control of the

municipality from the ANC.

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