A senior lieutenant of the Gupta family has been exposed for compiling tweets, possibly to be disseminated by fake twitter bots, in defence of Duduzane Zuma.
AmaBhungane and Scorpio reported in Daily Maverick on Thursday that leaked emails from the Gupta camp show how Haranath Ghosh drafted tweets to be sent out in Zuma's defence after a Sunday Times column, written by Peter Bruce, had questioned his relationship with the Guptas.
Ghosh is the head of market and sales for Infinity Media Networks, which is reportedly the media arm of the Gupta's business, which includes ANN7 and The New Age. Ghosh has also acted as a family spokesperson in the past.
The column was published in September 2015, and emails reportedly show how the former publisher of The New Age and former Oakbay CEO, Nazeem Howa, wrote a letter to the Sunday Times' editor at the time, Phylicia Oppelt, under Duduzane Zuma's name.
The letter reportedly stated:
"In my culture I have been taught to be respectful of my elders, so let me start with apologising in advance for taking issue with you and your columnist Peter Bruce for the almost defamatory references to me in his column on Sunday. I know I am a young man, who grew up on the streets of Maputo, Lusaka and Harare before the fall of apartheid, so I am not as well-schooled as either of your good selves in customary business etiquette.
"Mr Bruce refers to me in the column almost as if I am a commodity that was traded for favours, claiming that I was enriched by the Guptas in order to 'help' our president."
Ghosh then sent an email to senior members of the Gupta's business network entitled: "attached suggested tweets which can be tweaked and tweeted in the social media.".
The tweets were:
- Good to see Duduzane come out and speak in his defence: Media can be ruthless on young black entrepreneurs Peter Bruce must apologise
- Dudu shd sue this bruce chap: so many innuendos in one article: is it not personal vendetta?
- In our media eyes all successful blacks are corrupt and immoral #sundaytimesfail
- If Guptas are immigrants then all jews are also immigrants: Peter bruce is spreading poison here 2
- This article by Peter Bruce borders on the line of xenophobia: Dudu Zuma should demand apology 1
- Peter Bruce makes sweeping statements in this article- he also knows President hasn't met guptas after waterkloof- Age catching up with him
- Guptas created over 7,000 jobs and stay invested in our country... what is P Bruce's claim to fame.
- After Duduzane's response Sunday Times should apologise in their paper-nothing was true in the article.
It is not clear if the tweets ended up being disseminated in that format, Daily Maverick reported. Ghosh did not respond to questions.