File picture: Supplied
Johannesburg – The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) on Tuesday, said it held a meeting requested by the Democratic Alliance to attend to the so called "war room" covert operation allegedly by the governing African National Congress.

The commission said it had previously received a request by the DA to investigate a possibility that the ANC breached electoral rules during last year's highly contested local government elections.

"The Commission took the opportunity of today’s meeting to provide feedback to the Democratic Alliance on measures undertaken to date by the Commission to address issues of concern," the IEC said in a statement.

"The Commission can also confirm that [DA leader Mmusi] Mr Maimane took the opportunity of today’s engagement to raise concerns regarding on-going reports of the African National Congress “war room” and allegations of a misinformation campaign."

The “war room” saga, which reportedly had a R50 million budget for last year’s local government elections, emerged after public relations practitioner Sihle Bolani took the ANC to court, seeking at least R1 million in overdue payments for work done for the party during the elections.

She claimed in papers in the North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday that she was part of a team working on the “war room” project with Shaka Sisulu, a grandchild of anti-apartheid struggle stalwart Walter Sisulu and others.

Sisulu has since distanced himself from the saga, claiming that Bolani’s allegations against him and the ANC were false. According to Bolani’s papers filed in court, the operation targeted the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Democratic Alliance (DA).

The papers further showed that ANC general manager Ignatius Jacobs signed an agreement to pay Bolani R1 million for her services, but that she was only paid R100,000. ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said Sisulu was not an employee of the ANC, and that the party was not part of any covert operation.

An internal investigation of the "war room" was underway at Luthuli House, Mantashe told reporters on Monday. In a separate statement, Maimane said the commission invited his party to submit a formal complaint in order to activate an official investigation by the IEC.

"We have decided to do so, and will submit the formal complaint in the coming days," Maimane said in the statement.