‘WAR ROOM’ GM QUITS
The ANC has parted ways with its general manager at Luthuli House, Ignatius Jacobs, on the back of recent embarrassing revelations of a covert “war room” operation aimed at sabotaging opposition parties during last year’s municipal elections.
Jacobs had on Friday been scheduled to appear before a disciplinary committee for his involvement in the alleged operation. However, a settlement was reached before the case was heard, securing him a six-month salary payout.
Jacobs’ lawyer, Mfana Gwala, told City Press yesterday that there was a disciplinary hearing scheduled, but that the parties had decided to settle. Gwala said the settlement agreement was clear that neither party accepted any liability regarding the war room campaign.
“It is a settlement to part ways amicably,” he said. He said the agreement was effective immediately after being signed on Friday.
Last month, public relations expert Sihle Bolani told the court that she had done work on behalf of the ANC as part of the war room campaign and that she had not been paid.
Bolani said she was owed R2.2 million for her services.
According to court papers filed by Bolani in the Johannesburg High Court, the ANC planned to spend R50 million on the campaign, targeting opposition parties in the August 2016 local government elections.
The ANC issued a statement claiming it had had no dealings with Bolani.
However, Jacobs admitted in an affidavit that Bolani had volunteered to work for the ANC in the lead-up to the local government elections.
The court ordered that the application was not urgent and that it could be dealt with in the normal schedule.
At the weekend, there was panic among those sympathetic to Jacobs that his exit meant that the ANC’s membership audit process – in preparation for the crucial national elective conference in December – would be left mainly in the hands of ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.
As general manager, Jacobs – seen as neutral – was in essence the administrative head of the ANC and therefore played a role in the branch membership audit processes.
Mantashe has been linked with the campaign for Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to replace President Jacob Zuma – who has, in turn, tacitly backed Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma instead.