The DA has in its possession a list of members of Minister Muthambi’s newly formed National Communications Task Team, established to develop a White Paper on the overarching communication strategy of government.
The Task Team is stacked with individuals closely linked to President Jacob Zuma. This reinforces the perception that Minister Muthambi has been deployed to set up a propaganda machine to defend and promote the President.
The Task Team includes the following members:
Mr Mona is the current SANRAL spokesperson and former Head of Communications in the Presidency. Prior to that, as Editor of City Press, Mona published a story falsely accusing former Head of the National Prosecuting Authority, Bulelani Ngcuka, of being an apartheid spy. This was widely seen as an attempt to discredit Ngcuka following the NPA’s decision to charge Jacob Zuma with corruption. Judge Hefer, who chaired the Commission to investigate the allegations, concluded that Mona had “discredited himself to such a degree in the newspaper community, that he will not find it easy to procure employment in that field again.”
Mr Motsoeneng is the current Chief Operations Officer of the SABC. He has been known to boast about his g ties to President Zuma. It is alleged that Mr Motsoeneng ensured favourable coverage for President Zuma in the run-up to the ANC’s Mangaung Conference. In the 2014 election, it was reported that Mr Motsoeneng instructed SABC staff not to show crowd shots of opposition party rallies. Mr Motsoeneng is the subject of a Public Protector Report that found he had lied about his qualifications and was awarded irregular pay increases as Acting Chief Operations Officer. Instead of removing Mr Motsoeneng from Office, Minister Muthambi has protected him and promoted him.
Mr Manyi is former Head of the Government Communication and Information Service (GCIS). Prior to that, he was President of the Black Management Forum, which he mobilised behind Jacob Zuma following the ANC’s national conference in Polokwane. As Head of GCIS, Manyi threatened to withdraw government aertising from newspapers that did not toe the government’s line.
Following President Zuma’s election in 2009, the ANC used its majority in Parliament to remove the SABC Board and replace it with an interim Board sympathetic to the President. This Board appointed Solly Mokoetle as SABC Chief Executive Officer. Mr Mokoetle was instrumental in getting Phil Molefe, appointed as SABC Head of News in 2010. Molefe later allegedly instructed senior executives at the SABC to stop giving favourable coverage to President Thabo Mbeki.
Onkgopotse JJ Tabane
Mr Tabane is a former COPE communications officer who returned to the ANC in 2011. Since then, he has become a vigorous public defender of President Zuma. Mr Tabane was involved in drafting a communications strategy for the ANC’s Mangaung Conference alongside Keith Khoza and Jackson Mthembu.
Ms. Nzimande is the founder of Words amp All Communication, which lists the Jacob G Zuma Education Trust and the Bongi Ngema-Zuma Foundation amidst several government clients, including the Departments of Human Settlements and Transport.
Ms. Sangoni is listed as Head of media relations at the ANC, and is former Head of Communications of the ANC Youth League.
Minister Muthambi has come under heavy fire in recent weeks. If she wants to dispel the perception that she is creating a propaganda machine for the President, she will move swiftly to remove all Zuma acolytes from the National Communications Task Team.
Gavin Davis, Shadow Minister of Communications
Source : Democratic Alliance