Public relations consultant Sihle Bolani has instigated a hashtag #paidtwitter campaign, creating a media circus targeting the African National Congress (ANC) after she exposed the party's "black ops" electioneering plan. Bolani managed the PR for the campaign for last year's local government election and is suing the party for more for R2.2 million because she says she wasn't paid.
According to papers filed in the Johannesburg High Court, the ANC set up a secret team called the War Room which was to "disempower DA and EFF campaigns" and set a pro-ANC agenda using a range of media, during the 2016 municipal election campaigning. The War Room, later renamed the Media Advisory Team, was allegedly led by social influencer and entrepreneur Shaka Sisulu, who reportedly was to work closely with ANC-affiliated businessman Joseph Nkadimeng to source funds from private donors. However, the initiative didn't go according to plan and was short-lived due to mismanagement and a lack of funding.
The ANC has denied that a covert campaign existed.
According to Bolani's affidavit, Sisulu promised 200 social influencers to take on the iniative, but the final number was "well below 100". Bolani's affidavit said the influencers listed did not have contact details or social media handles and did not all meet the appropriate standard of reach in terms of engagement impressions and followers.
Bolani referred to problems with Sisulu's "lack of professionalism", as he apparently showed up drunk at meetings.
Bolani says that she asked about the intentions behind putting up fake Malema posters, and she was told that they wanted to "make people freak out and think he had gone mental".
Bolani: I asked what the intention was (behind fake Julius posters) Answer was: we want people to freak out and think Julius has gone mental— Karyn Maughan (@karynmaughan) January 24, 2017