The DA has called for an urgent probe into “shocking allegations” before the Zondo Commission this week that the State Security Agency (SSA) colluded with Africa News Agency (ANA) to skew news reporting in favour of former President Jacob Zuma and the ANC government.
Zakhele Mbhele MP – DA Shadow Minister of Communications & Digital Technologies – pointed out in a statement on Thursday:
“When, in 1979, a Commission of Inquiry found that then State President, John Vorster, knew ‘everything’ about attempts to use government resources to fight a propaganda war for the Apartheid government and influence public opinion (the so-called Information Scandal), Vorster resigned in disgrace.”
Mbhele said: “The testimony by Sydney Mufamadi this week is as shocking as this decades-old scandal and if there is any truth to it, Ramaphosa – just like Vorster – must resign. It is unconscionable that Ramaphosa as Deputy President and Head of Government Business would not have known about this at the time.
unconscionable that Ramaphosa as Deputy President and Head of Government Business would not have known about this
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has therefore called for an urgent investigation by the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) into the corroborated allegations that ANA was paid millions over a period of 8 months to write positive stories on Zuma and the government, and to provide “multi-media” training to SSA agents.
Investigation Needed into #ANAGate (ANA and SSA) Allegations
“A proper investigation must establish the degree of truth in ANA CEO Vasantha Angamuthu’s claims that the Agency retained its independence and was not a front for the SSA, or launched as a propaganda machine for the ANC, especially as she admitted to receiving R20 million in payment from the SSA,” said Mbhele.
The DA says it believes that it was “highly inappropriate” for the SSA to pay for the production and publication of positive stories about the SA government; and that in a country plagued with corruption, media independence is vital for the constitutional democracy.