Columns 25.1.2017 05:31 am

Fake news that leaves a whiff of Gupta

03 November 2016. The front page of the Gupta-owned The New Age  newspaper blares the headline: Thuli's report is 'flawed' following the release of the State of Capture report.

03 November 2016. The front page of the Gupta-owned The New Age newspaper blares the headline: Thuli's report is 'flawed' following the release of the State of Capture report.

In addition to The New Age and ANN7 TV, the Guptas’ struggle for control appears to also now include Twitter activity.

Fake news is not restricted to coverage of US President Donald Trump. In South Africa, false “news” is generated around the Zuptas.

To trace its origin, check the Guptas’ media network. On The New Age website, under the headline Guptas vs white capital, the family’s mouthpiece says: “The South African media has taken sides in the Gupta versus white capital battle for the control of the economy.”

There you have it. The Guptas say they want to control the local economy. In addition to The New Age and ANN7 TV, the Guptas’ struggle for control includes Twitter activity.

Fake Radio 702, Sunday Times and Huff Post accounts unearthed over the weekend include pro-Gupta attacks on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Here’s a tip. Before retweeting a controversial opinion, or “following”, note when the account was opened, and the number of followers. Is there a genuine name, or a pseudonym?

Not all pro-Gupta tweeps are incognito. In December, Max du Preez tweeted: “Atul Gupta’s favourite retweets tell a story: Mzwanele Manyi, Piet Rampedi, Andile Mngxitama, Pinky Khoabane and Donald Trump.”

On Monday, in one of the best columns ever to grace local newspapers, Justice Malala said the dirty war is being “led by faux Black Consciousness activists built around Mzwanele Jimmy Manyi and others”. Join the dots. Spot faux Black Consciousness activists in Du Preez’s list above.

People of this ilk dominate ANN7, churning out pro-Gupta opinions at the expense of Gordhan and “white monopoly capital”.

Another captive is ANC Youth League president Collen “Oros” Maine.

Amabhungane, an investigative journalism unit named after the dung beetle, reported last year that Maine’s bond on his R5.4 million home had been acquired with the help of the Guptas. The Bank of India mortgage reportedly requires payments of R142 000 a month over four years at prime plus 1.5%.

How does Oros manage that? With a little help from his friends.

Oros, Manyi and company have something else in common, besides their ties to the Guptas. They are part of the chorus demanding that Absa, “a symbol of white monopoly capital”, repay a disputed amount of billions dating from an apartheid-era soft-loan.

Ironically, the Guptas are trying to use the propaganda as a lifeboat to save their dwindling finances from scrutiny. Former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report, and Gordhan’s court affidavit listing R6.8 billion worth of transactions labelled suspicious by the Financial Intelligence Centre, both nailed the Guptas.

They are fighting back. The campaign against Absa is an attempt to divert attention from a stench stretching from Saxonwold to Dubai.

Even if everything said about Absa by the Guptas’ paid tweeps were true, which it isn’t, that wouldn’t lessen the case against the Zuptas. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Don’t take your eyes off the Guptas and their (small-fry) guppies. There is a declared war to capture the Treasury.

That evil threatens South Africa’s stability.

DA city councillor for Joburg Martin Williams

DA city councillor for Joburg Martin Williams

For more news your way, follow The Citizen on Facebook and Twitter.

 

01

today in print