‘Covert plot’ haunts Ja­cobs

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - BALWIN NDABA

IGNATIUS Ja­cobs – the former Gaut­eng MEC for education and roads and trans­port – is in a bit­ter war to keep his job at the ANC head­quar­ters, fol­low­ing damn­ing al­le­ga­tions of his in­volve­ment in an ANC “war room”.

Last Tues­day, Sihle Bolani – a pub­lic re­la­tions ex­pert – launched a R2.2 mil­lion law­suit against the ANC in the high court in Joburg, al­leg­ing in her ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion that the party had failed to pay her for her in­volve­ment in the ANC’s covert cam­paign.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ported court doc­u­ments, Bolani said she was part of a team which set up an ANC war room to pro­duce fake EFF posters, pro­duce a news site and a chat show, and used a net­work of so­cial me­dia “in­flu­encers” to in­flu­ence voter sen­ti­ment to­wards the ANC – with­out re­veal­ing its hand.

Bolani im­pli­cated Ja­cobs; a se­nior ANC mem­ber, Joseph Nkadi­meng; and late Strug­gle veteran Wal­ter Sisulu’s grand­son Shaka Sisulu as part of that team. They were sup­posed to raise R50m to dig up dirt on the EFF and DA.

The court how­ever, ruled that the mat­ter was not ur­gent, prompt­ing the ANC to dis­tance it­self from the al­leged covert op­er­a­tion.

ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe later told jour­nal­ists on the side­lines of the ANC’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive meet­ing on Thurs­day that his party was not aware of the project.

He also said Ja­cobs, who is work­ing in his of­fice as gen­eral man­ager, did not have per­mis­sion to con­clude that al­leged deal.

Man­tashe said the ANC was go­ing to in­ves­ti­gate the mat­ter in­ter­nally.

But while the party was re­port­edly busy with its in­ter­nal process, a na­tional Sun­day news­pa­per pro­duced se­cret record­ings of all the im­pli­cated ANC-linked peo­ple, in­clud­ing Ja­cobs, al­legedly dis­cussing their plot.

Man­tashe an­nounced yes­ter­day that Ja­cobs would be hauled be­fore a dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee of the ANC, and he ap­pealed to the me­dia to give his party time to deal with the mat­ter in­ter­nally.

“We are ap­peal­ing to you to give us space. Please al­low us space to deal with this mat­ter. It’s a se­ri­ous mat­ter. If there are record­ings and other ev­i­dence, we will deal with that in a dis­ci­plinary process,” he said.

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