Journalist Oliver Meth has confirmed via Twitter his receipt of payments from the CR17 campaign which resulted in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s assent to the ANC presidency.
“I’d like to place on record, that I worked as a media consultant on the campaign and was paid for services rendered, as a freelancer,” Meth wrote.
I can not share further about the campaign operations, as I had signed a non-disclosure agreement. I will not be doing any interviews! #CR17BankStatements
— Oliver Meth (@oliver_meth) August 17, 2019
A Google search shows that Meth has written only two articles in The Daily Maverick. Ironically, one of these did not praise Ramaphosa but rather accused the president’s jobs summit of “locking out” South Africa’s youth.
A second article, written in collaboration with Busisiwe Seabe, is on the #FeesMustFall movement and the departure of Blade Nzimande as Minister of Higher Education.
His biography on the publication is transparent about the fact he was a “communications consultant” for the CR17 campaign.
Meth previously worked as a contracted part-time communication officer for Greenpeace Africa.
Meth’s tweets on the matter are currently being widely circulated on social media, with Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema among those sharing it.
Leaked emails from the CR17 campaign were first mentioned by News24 in a story which included names of potential donors, appeared to show the involvement of Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan in the campaign, and seemed to show that Ramaphosa’s claim that he was not involved in the running of the campaign or aware of its donors was at least partially untrue.
Then, in a Sunday Independent article titled “How the CR17 campaign funds were channelled”, it was reported that the publication had seen the campaign’s bank records, as well as emails and financial statements which identified the beneficiaries of the “R1 billion” campaign fund, who according to the story were “politicians, campaign managers, and strategists” who “earned millions for their roles in Ramaphosa’s” successful CR17 campaign for the ANC presidency.
The report alleged that some of Ramaphosa’s main funders were numerous wealthy businesspeople, including mining magnate Nicky Oppenheimer, who reportedly gave R10 million; Pick n Pay founder Raymond Ackerman, who gave R1 million; and eNCA founder, director and owner of Hosken Consolidated Investments Johnny Copelyn, who donated an alleged R2 million on behalf of the news channel. Former Absa CEO Maria Ramos was another alleged donor.
The article was co-written by a trio that included Piet Rampedi and Mzilikazi wa Afrika – two of the journalists behind now-discredited Sunday Times reports on the so-called Sars “rogue unit”. They both parted ways with the Sunday Times after these reports were retracted and apologised for when the media ombudsman found them to be “
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)
Update, 15.27pm, 19 August: This article was updated to reflect that Greenpeace Africa did not considering Meth’s role to be their spokesperson.