File picture: Supplied
Johannesburg – The African National Congress (ANC) on Monday asked for space and time to deal with "war room" allegations levelled against its Luthuli House general manager, Ignatius Jacobs.

The so-called "war room" was allegedly an ANC covert project which reportedly had a R50 million budget to discredit opposition parties during the 2016 local government elections, using social media "influencers" and fake posters.

During a post-NEC lekgotla media briefing on Monday, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said the party took these allegations "very seriously", and appealed to the media to allow the party to deal with them accordingly.

"We are appealing with you to give us space. Please allow us space to deal with this matter. It's a very serious matter for us," Mantashe said. "If there are recordings and other evidence, we will deal with that in a disciplinary process."

Mantashe declined to comment any further about the "war room" allegations which could have been a breach of the electoral code. Leaked recordings of meetings between Jacobs and other role players to confirm the existence of the clandestine campaign emerged in the media over the weekend.

The "war room" saga 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, allegedly at the behest of Jacobs.

Sisulu denied allegations against him saying that they were inherently false, exaggerated and aimed at discrediting him, and that Bolani's court case was intended to extort money from the ANC.

The ANC initially distanced itself from the "war room" activities, saying it never sanctioned anyone to run a "black ops" campaign.