Fake Mantashe letter used in campaign
An ANC leader in the Northern Cape has been linked to an election disinformation campaign that used the name of the governing party’s secretarygeneral, Gwede Mantashe.
However, the implicated ANC provincial executive committee member, Roseline Tyler, who is also the chairperson of the ANC Women’s League in Kimberley’s Frances Baard district, said she was being unfairly targeted because she backed Premier Sylvia Lucas to become the first female provincial chairperson of the ANC.
This follows the circulation of a fake letter last week, which bears Mantashe’s forged signature and was allegedly sent to provincial ANC secretary Zamani Saul, claiming that Luthuli House could dissolve the provincial executive over “discrepancies” in preparations for the conference to elect new provincial leaders.
The conference, which was initially scheduled to be held earlier this month, has been postponed on several occasions. Last week, it was moved back indefinitely, pending a report from the task team that Mantashe sent to the province to investigate complaints of membership rigging and manipulation.
The ANC in the province, said Saul, who is expected to contest Lucas for the position of chairperson, had launched an internal investigation into the fake letter, and that “investigations are at a sensitive stage”.
Party provincial spokesperson Naledi Gaosekwe said: “We have been advised by our legal team not to divulge anything on the matter until the investigations have been finalised.”
Tyler told City Press that the provincial office was yet to contact her regarding the letter, but she had picked up that some people were using social media to spread rumours that she was behind the fraudulent act.
She said the first time she saw the note was on a chat group related to her region in Frances Baard. She then shared it with members of her branch on another chat group, but later learnt that it was fake.
City Press has seen screenshots of the conversation in Tyler’s branch chat group, which shows a comment with her name on it that says: “Press release is on Facebook. Check it [comrades] and post it here. Victory is ours”.
Tyler said she was angry that the comment and her picture were circulating on Facebook because this would create the impression that she was part of the dubious plot, or that she knew about it.
“I asked the administrator of our branch chat group to remove me and, when they did not, I removed myself,” she said.
She said that, in ANC constitutional meetings, she had spoken openly by saying that processes were being rigged going into the provincial conference to favour Saul.
“I told them that I am not afraid of anyone and I speak justice and truth to power in the ANC”.
Those backing Lucas claimed they were being purged from ANC processes by regional secretaries supporting Saul.
City Press had also seen copies of suspension letters, dated February 8, that were sent to five branch members in a ward in the ZF Mgcawu (Upington) region.