Claims about 'black ops' campaign serious - Mantashe

2017-01-30 17:13
Gwede Mantashe (City Press, file).

Gwede Mantashe (City Press, file).

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Johannesburg - Allegations that the African National Congress ran a covert campaign ahead of the 2016 local government elections to discredit the opposition were “serious”, secretary general Gwede Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg on Monday.

“Please allow us to deal with this matter. We are appealing to you to give us space.  We take it as a very serious matter,” Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg.

It would hold a disciplinary inquiry against the party’s general manager Ignatius Jacobs for his alleged role in the campaign. He would not comment about speculation that Jacobs had been asked to resign.

Jacobs, a former MEC in Gauteng, reports directly to Mantashe at ANC headquarters Luthuli House.

A recording of Jacobs’ meeting with PR company owner Sihle Bolani and businessman Joseph Nkadimeng at ANC headquarters Luthuli House emerged after the ANC distanced itself from reports about the alleged covert operation.

“I would imagine that the recordings would fall under what is called evidence in a disciplinary hearing,” Mantashe said.

READ: The ANC's war against integrity and honest politics

Voter sentiment

The allegations of a covert operation emerged when Bolani took the ANC to court for its alleged failure to pay her the R2.2m it owed her for her role in the campaign.

Bolani described in her court papers how the campaign involved producing fake Economic Freedom Fighters posters, setting up a news website, a chat show, and a network of social media “influencers” to generate positive voter sentiment about the ANC.

The High Court in Johannesburg struck the matter off the roll on Tuesday, saying it was not urgent.

Mantashe said the matter was not discussed at last week’s national executive committee meeting as it was an administrative matter.
Mantashe was asked whether former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe was going to Parliament on the ANC’s ticket.

“There is no Brian in Parliament, not yet,” he replied.

Mantashe said the law only allowed one amendment to the ANC’s list of representatives in Parliament once a year.

He said the North West could amend its list to prioritise Molefe.

“We don’t wake up one day and put Brian on list and he goes to Parliament. It doesn't happen that way,” Mantashe said.

Read more on:    anc  |  gwede ­mantashe  |  politics 2017

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