COMMENT: ANC’s ‘war room’ is a laughable bungle not a national scandal

25 January 2017 - 13:18
By The Times Editorial

The howls of outrage over the ANC's election "war room" are predictable in South Africa's fractured political landscape‚ but a closer look at the substance of the document included in court papers which reveal the existence of the plan provides a different perspective.

The “alternate truth” - if you'll forgive our cheap reference to the parlance of our times - is that this is material to fuel a hearty chuckle rather than a national furore.

Let’s shelve our indignation for a moment and consider the picture painted in the document filed at court by Sihle Bolani‚ the public relations consultant suing the ANC for several million rand for “war room” work.

There is little that has been filed so far that challenges the ANC’s denials that it had sanctioned the “war room” plan. An offer by the party to pay Bolani was to settle the “dispute” and not an acknowledgement of any contractual obligation.

Instead what emerges from the court papers are the central roles of Shaka Sisulu‚ serial tweeter and grandson of Walter Sisulu‚ and Joseph Nkadimeng‚ also with a strong ANC pedigree and who is related to John Nkadimeng‚ South Africa's first ambassador to Cuba.

  • READ MORE: How the ANC's R50m 'war room' floppedA "war room" with a R50-million budget allegedly set up to ensure that the ANC emerged victorious in last year's local government elections was a disastrous farce, court papers suggest. 

And if Bolani’s version is to be believed‚ these two are incapable of organising a war room in a brewery.

Along with DJ Phat Joe‚ Bolani and other characters‚ the “war room” didn't have proper offices or communications. Their scheme to salt leading newspapers with “thought leader” items from ANC leaders resulted in precisely none being published. They set up a short-lived web site - The New South African - which nobody noticed. Ditto for arguably their dodgiest scheme‚ a fake EFF poster campaign.

There is little that has been presented so far - except perhaps for the EFF poster scheme - which provides evidence of "dirty tricks" that is any different to the normal cut and thrust of the political life in South Africa. All that we see is a laughable bungle.

– TMG Digital/The Times