‘WAR ROOM’ GM QUITS

CityPress - - News - SETUMO STONE setumo.stone@city­press.co.za

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.

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