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ICYMI: ANC faces R4m bill for 'dirty tricks' campaign

Politics
Johannesburg - The ANC could be forced to fork out R4-million for its alleged covert propagandist war room election campaign that targeted opposition parties during last year’s municipal elections.

This is according to the latest court application in the high court in Johannesburg brought by a public relations consultant, who has filed a lawsuit against the ANC for what she claims is R2.2m owed to her for work done for the party as part of its election campaign strategy.

The war room project was allegedly based on discrediting opposition parties, notably the EFF, by faking its posters, as well as the DA.

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The project was terminated in July, “without prior notice, at the instance” of the ANC, according to Bolani. Picture: Supplied

After initially giving the consultant, Sihle Bolani, and her company, Sihle Bolani Communications (SBC), the run-around in paying for the job done between May and July, the parties signed a R1m settlement on December 9.

It was signed by the then ANC general manager Ignatius Jacobs (who has since left the party over the scandal), and secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, with the money to be paid by December 31.

The ANC, however, allegedly reneged on the agreement, prompting Bolani to take the party to court.

The court had in January scrapped the matter on the basis that the application was not urgent, and Bolani filed a new application on February 27.

Mantashe is listed among the defendants, along with ANC president Jacob Zuma and Joseph Nkadimeng, a businessman with close ties to the party who was its link-man with Bolani.

Nkadimeng allegedly told Bolani the ANC had raised R50m for the project, but that the invoices for the job done were not to be addressed to the ANC.

The ANC could end up paying a higher amount should the party not pay up the R1-million.

“In the alternative to claims (of R1m and others), the plaintiffs claim the amount of R4m, being the financial equivalent of the value of the actual services rendered by the first plaintiff (Sihle Bolani Communications to the benefit of the first defendant (ANC),” the court papers read.

Bolani was “unable to render services to other potential clients during the subsistence of the agreement” with the ANC.

In the papers, Bolani claims she was forced to visit the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters in Johannesburg in November, where she held discussions with Mantashe.

This, she said, was after the party had failed to honour an agreement to settle the bill of R2.204m, despite a written agreement being concluded with Jacobs, on behalf of the ANC.

The court papers claim the project was replete with a litany of bungles, including allegations that Shaka Sisulu, the grandson of ANC stalwart Water Sisulu, had arrived at the war room drunk after an all-night party.

The project was terminated in July, “without prior notice, at the instance” of the ANC, according to Bolani.

She contends that she had fulfilled the terms of the agreement as she had met all the deliverables in setting up a communication and media campaign strategy, among others.

Among the deliverables met was “the 12 episodes of ‘right to vote with Pearl Thusi’,” 150 articles produced under the New South African, creating two websites, namely the New South African and the Right to Vote. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts were also opened for the New South African, while a YouTube account was also created for the Right to Vote.

Opposition parties yesterday described the disclosures of the project as “dirty tricks”.

The ANC could not be reached for comment on Saturday night.

Sunday Independent

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