People behind ANC’s R50m ‘War Room’ were ‘complete amateurs’

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When news of the covert campaign‚ which focused on enhancing the ANC’s presence on social media while disempowering its political rivals by printing fake election posters and engaging social media influencers‚ Chris Vick tweeted: “This is just the tip of the iceberg”.

Vick‚ a media strategist and journalist‚ followed this on Tuesday with: “I was ‘approached’. I declined.

“They were complete amateurs. We didn’t get into detail – just that they would pay for tweets and retweets. I don’t roll that way.”

Former talk show host Kay Sexwale told Radio 702 on Wednesday that claims that she was involved were “like sour grapes”‚ and were made on Twitter by someone known as “Razo”.

This was a refenence to LL Cool Razo [email protected] who tweeted on Tuesday: “& @ShakaSisulu is not alone‚ @kaysexwale was also involved‚ she DM’d these fake party posters‚ but she’s too smart to be dragged in court”.

Of Razo‚ Sexwale said: “It’s someone who I refused to employ in my company at some point‚ so he’s been going on and on and on about me for like a year or so now.

“So now it’s escalated to this‚ and for some reason people believe him‚ then there’s some WhatsApp message that’s going around‚ with a tweet that I tweeted ages ago.”

She denied working with Shaka Sisulu‚ who is said to be at the centre of the “War Room”‚ explaining: “I am actually an advisor to the ANC in Gauteng specifically‚ not the ANC nationally‚ so whatever it is that may or may not have happened is not something I would have been involved in.”

Sisulu on Tuesday described the amaBhungane report that was published by News24 as “grossly misleading deliberately” and undertook to “answer some of the questions u have” on Twitter‚ but didn’t and has since turned down numerous requests for comment.

The report came ahead of a court attempt on Tuesday by Sihle Bolani Communications to claw back the money it is allegedly owed by turning to the High Court in Johannesburg but the court decided the case was not urgent.

SBC managing director Bolani took the ANC to court‚ claiming that she was owed R2.2-million for work done by her company during the campaign and in the process spilt the beans on how it flopped and was eventually canned. The millions did not materialise.

She said in court papers the task team was put together by Joseph Nkadimeng‚ a businessman with ties to the ANC‚ and Shaka Sisulu‚ whose grandfather was ANC stalwart Walter Sisulu.

Bolani claimed that nine companies‚ including Phat Joe’s KTI Media‚ were in on the plan.

But a project report submitted by Bolani to the ANC in November last year did not paint a rosy picture of the team’s work.

She said there was not adequate office space to house the team‚ no access to daily newspapers‚ magazines or petty cash. The core of the problem‚ she said‚ was incompetence‚ non-delivery and unprofessionalism.

Citing one example‚ she said the team agreed to produce and plant EFF posters to disarm the opposition. She enquired if the person responsible planned to “plant” callers on radio stations to draw attention to the posters but was told there was no need because the posters would be at busy intersections. The posters went largely unnoticed.

Bolani recalled how Sisulu reported to the office “intoxicated”‚ wearing clothes from the night before. “Mr Nkadimeng had to go buy Mr Sisulu a new shirt before they attended an off-site meeting. Mr Sisulu’s behaviour gave the impression that he did not take the project seriously‚” said the report.

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