DA leader Mmusi Maimane
Cape Town – The African National Congress must take full responsibility for the unethical so-called "black ops" campaign during the August 3 municipal elections last year and face the music, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said on Sunday.

The release of secret tape recordings proved that a top ANC headquarters official general manager Ingatius Jacobs knew about what had been termed a "black ops" communications campaign by ANC members and supporters.

This grouping, in violation of the Electoral Code of Conduct and possibly illegally, deliberately produced and distributed false content about the ANC's political opponents, including the DA, Maimane said.

"It is time for the ANC to come clean and provide a full and frank briefing to the public about exactly what their fake news 'black ops' unit did and to whom. They cannot go on blankly denying that anything unethical or illegal happened. The mounting evidence is hard to refute," he said.

Having noted a statement released by the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) stating that the current “...legal process should be allowed to be concluded and that it would be premature to comment on such allegations”, Maimane said he would raise this very serious matter with the commission when he met it on Tuesday for a scheduled meeting.

The ANC’s fraudulent propaganda campaign was in clear violation of the Electoral Code of Conduct, which was designed to enforce the principle of "conditions that are conducive to free and fair elections".

The code, which all political parties, including the ANC, subscribed to ahead of the 2016 elections, stated in sections 89(2)(a) and (c) that "No person may publish any false information with the intention of creating hostility or fear in order to influence the conduct or outcome of an election; or influencing the conduct or outcome of an election”.

"Such violations come with, among other sanctions, a fine of up to R20 0,000 and/or having the registration of the party cancelled. This is a serious matter that should be condemned by all South Africans who believe in the basic requirement of free and fair elections," Maimane said.