NEWS & ANALYSIS

I did not meet with Mkhwebane – Carl Niehaus

Says photo circulating on social media was of himself and Slauzy Mogame

Media statement by Carl Niehaus condemning the fake news photograph concoction about a meeting that never happened between the PP and himself  

21 July 2019  

It is with a mixture of bemusement, and outrage, that I woke this morning up to a photo of myself and comrade Slauzy Mogame, Chair of the Agribusiness Working Group of the BRICS Business Council, being distributed on social media (both Twitter and Facebook), with the intention to launch another misplaced attack on the Public Protector (PP), Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

Apparently it was a case of mistaken identity (I believe more intentionally and maliciously so, than a genuine error), of confusing comrade Mogame with the Public Protector, Advocate Mkhwebane. The fake narrative that was being spun out in hyperventilating overdrive, was that I have for some reason met with the Public Protector in order to try and influence her work. Evidently the Public Protector doing her job, without fear or favor, must have hurt and incensed some people so much, as to get them to respond with such stupid and amateurish nervous desperation.

The facts about the photo that is making the rounds are as follows:

On the 7th of May (three months ago!) I bumped into comrade Slauzy Mogame at Mandela Square in Sandton. Not having seen each other for a while we decided to have a cup of coffee and catch up at Cilantros Restaurant. While we were doing so a spy/intelligence operator must have sneaked up and taken a photo, or photos, of us. That undercover photograph having been taken sneakily, had apparently been kept on file somewhere waiting for the day it could be used.

Evidently that day arrived today, on this very Sunday, as part of ratcheting up the smear campaign against the Public Protector, and it is not difficult to connect the dots to understand why it happened now ...

There are many disturbing issues about this:

- There was no attempt to establish the veracity of the said photograph, and the correct identity of the two people in the photograph. There was just a sickening rush, to distribute it as far and wide as possible, and to smear...

- The existence of this photograph, and the manner in which it eventually got used three months after it had been taken, once again confirms that there are those of us who are deliberately being targeted by spies, both from formal institutions and informally. We are followed everywhere and our every move is recorded and photographed, and every telephone conversation is also bugged and recorded.

- In this democratic state that I, and so many comrades have fought for, went to prison for, and laid down our lives for, our most basic constitutional rights to privacy and our right to freedom of speech are being undermined and trashed.

- This undermining of our most basic human rights clearly does not stop with taking sneaky photos, and using them in Stratcom operations and fake news, but in the most fundamental our personal safety is compromised, as well as the safety of our families and loved ones. It is exactly because of actions such as what played itself out with this photo today that I, and many other comrades, are receiving death threats, and why I recently had to open a legal case of intimidation against a person who threatened to kill me.

- It is not a secret that the main targets of all of these cowardly unconstitutional and malicious actions are comrades within the African National Congress (ANC) who courageously continue to speak out in defense of Radical Economic Transformation (RET), refuse to bow to pressure, and refuse to be driven out of the ANC.

- Evidently  the  intention  of  these  actions  are  to  create  a  climate  of  fear  and intimidation. Apparently there must now be an atmosphere where there are ‘no go’ zones/areas (similar to what happened during the apartheid era), and ‘no go’ people who can no longer meet each other. I have not met the Public Protector, but if we do meet by chance somewhere, are both of us supposed to avoid each other as if shaking hands, or sitting down and having a chat, will be tantamount to a ‘crime’? Must all of us now suspend our very humanity, and live in an atmosphere of paranoia, fear and trepidation?

Let me make it abundantly clear that I for one will never allow myself to be intimidated, nor to cower away from my beliefs, and from any person, or persons, I may meet or want to engage with.

It is interesting, but also very disturbing, that almost immediately after the misrepresented photo in question started to trend this morning on social media, there were journalists, like Lizeka Tandwa of News24, primed and ready with questions about this fake news meeting that had supposedly taken place between Advocate Mkhwebane and myself. (I attach hereto the questions that she rushed out). Evidently this is another journalist not worthy of her profession, who is simply an embedded propagandist for White Monopoly Capital (WMC).

Clearly this was a concerted, and well co-ordinated, propaganda campaign with a social media component in tandem with the mainstream media. Once again the prowling hyenas and bloodhounds of White Monopoly Capital (WMC) went on attack.

In this instance, because of their desperation and haste, this attack has backfired spectacularly on them. However, the fact that their Stratcom propaganda attempt dismally flopped, does not make the situation that we are faced with any less serious and dangerous. Every right thinking, democratic, and freedom loving South African should be outraged by it, and demand that these actions must be stopped forthwith and exposed for the undemocratic and unconstitutional aberrations that they are. We also need to establish who funds these unconstitutional actions, fake news and campaigns, and they must be exposed and shamed.

Outside the Commission of Enquiry into State Capture, when President Zuma appeared during the past week at the Commission, there was a banner stating: “UNBROKEN UNBREAKABLE - RADICAL ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION FORCES”. This is a message that we deliver at the doors of those who are involved in these malicious smear campaigns. Together with my fellow comrades I say: You can do your damnedest, you will fail!

Issued by Carl Niehaus in his personal capacity, 21 July 2019