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I was not paid – I was under impression I was performing a civic duty‚ says Khaya Dlanga on ANC’s ‘war room’

25 January 2017 - 19:04 By Ernest Mabuza
Columnist Khaya Dlanga
Columnist Khaya Dlanga
Image: Gallo Images / Heat / Lourens Reyneke

Author and social commentator Khaya Dlanga has distanced himself from the ANC “war room”‚ an operation which aimed to‚ among other aims‚ discredit opposition political parties ahead of last year’s local government elections.

The ANC’s “war room” was established a few months into the run up to the local government elections held in August last year‚ according to PR practitioner Sihle Bolani.

She said the “war room” aimed to disempower the DA and EFF campaigns and also use a range of media to encourage the public to vote for the ANC.

  • No action over election 'black ops' by Electoral CommissionThe Electoral Commission has "noted" but will take no action for now over the ANC’s so-called R50-million “War Room” allegedly set up to influence last year’s local government elections. 

These included recruiting “social media influencers” or paid twitter to manipulate voter sentiment.

The “war room” plan also included the establishment of a podcast‚ “Right to Vote with Pearl Thusi” a television programme that aimed to get people excited about the elections in South Africa.

  • ‘Black ops’ case intended to extort money from ANC: Shaka SisuluShaka Sisulu‚ the person implicated in a case where a PR practitioner is seeking R2.2m for the work she did for the ANC’s election war room last year‚ says he believes the court case against the ANC was intended to extort money from the party. 

Bolani‚ who failed in her court bid this week to recover R2.2m from the ANC for the work she had done for the ANC’s war room‚ claimed in her report that was attached to her court application that R50m was raised to fund the war room.

Dlanga was one of the celebrities who was interviewed by Thusi for the podcast.

  • COMMENT: ANC’s ‘war room’ is a laughable bungle not a national scandalThe 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. 

In a statement published on his Twitter account‚ Dlanga said a gentleman working with Bolani called him for a web series interview aimed at getting young people to register to vote and to actually vote on the day.

“My recollection of the interview did not show any bias towards one party or another. (I don’t know whether it is still online or not.)

“The interview was about why I believed it was important for young people to vote. It was followed by a fun quiz. That was the end of my involvement except for when I retweeted the fun (and embarrassing tweet because I did so poorly).”

Below is the interview Dlanga did with Thusi:

Dlanga said to suggest he was paid or even talks of being paid was false.

“I was under the impression that I was performing a civic duty.

“If my name happens to be brought up in some War Room meeting/session‚ or someone is tasked with talking to me does not mean I was part of the so called War Room.”

Dlanga said now that some people had been paid‚ he should at least have been given petrol money for driving to the interview and his data for retweeting the interview.