CAPE TOWN, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday rejected allegations that it allocated 50 million rand (about 3.7 million U.S. dollars) for a "covert campaign" against opposition parties during the 2016 local government election.
"We further reject any allegation that the organisation owes any monies to any companies purporting to run such clandestine campaign," the ANC said in a statement.
It came after claims by public relations consultant Sihle Bolani that she was part of a team called the War Room tasked with disempowering the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) election campaigns and setting a pro-ANC agenda in the media. Its jobs reportedly involved printing fake posters of EFF leader Julius Malema with a gun.
Bolani has opened a case with police after being threatened and sued the ANC for over 2 million rand over her involvement in the campaign before the municipal elections in August last year.
But on Tuesday, the South Gauteng High Court dismissed Bolani's application with costs.
In defense, ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the party has always been and remains committed to running clean campaigns in all the elections it has participated in since 1994.
"We welcome that we have been vindicated in this matter" by the court, Kodwa said, adding the party does not need clandestine "black ops" to woo voters.
Kodwa said Bolani and other people were not contracted or mandated by the ANC or any of its structures tasked with the communications work in the 2016 Local Government Election.
"Their activities were not sanctioned by the ANC and consequently, we distance ourselves against any insinuation that any such campaign was known to or approved by the African National Congress," said Kodwa.
The 2016 local election, the most fierce since 1994 when apartheid was brought to an end, marked the greatest setback for the ANC that lost some major metropolitans like Johannesburg, Pretoria and the Nelson Mandela Bay to opposition parties.