ANC activist Shaka Sisulu says he is “deeply troubled” by recent reports that he was at the forefront of a covert ANC campaign to undermine DA and EFF election campaigns during last year’s local government elections.
“These reports are inherently false, exaggerated and no doubt intended to discredit, in part my reputation, and most significantly the name of the African National Congress (ANC),” Sisulu said in a statement on Wednesday.
The amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism reported on Tuesday that the ANC planned to spend R50 million on a secretive election campaign to “disempower” the opposition parties through a unit known as the Media Advisory Team.
The report alleged that Sisulu and ANC-linked businessman Joseph Nkadimeng were leading the campaign before it fizzled out. It reportedly planned to use fake posters and ‘influencers’ on social media, collectively known as ‘paid Twitter’, to carry out its mandate.
Sisulu, the grandson of late ANC veteran Walter Sisulu and the son of former National Assembly speaker Max Sisulu, said it was common knowledge that he volunteered his time and abilities for the ruling party’s election campaigns for the past 18 years.
“I am not and shall never be apologetic for any contribution I make to the ANC,” he said.
“As volunteers for the ANC, our role is to promote the values and virtues of the movement to potential voters, not to discredit the opposition,” Sisulu added.
Public relations consultant Sihle Bolani on Tuesday applied for an urgent court order at the Johannesburg High Court, alleging that the ANC owed her company R2.2 million for the services it rendered to the Media Advisory Team before the elections.
Sisulu said it saddened him that the case was being used to tarnish his reputation and that of his family.
He also acknowledged working with the businesswomen briefly as part of a media team and maintains that their interaction was not “covert.”
Sisulu said ANC volunteers were made aware of the provisions of the electoral code and volunteers used their own resources, including donations and sponsorships from ANC supporters, should their resources need to be supplemented.
“I have never witnessed or heard of any volunteers receiving an amount of R50 million or anything remotely close to that. This 50 million figure that news reports have brandied about is clearly the fragment of someone’s imagination.”
Read the full statement below: