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State Capture Death/Assassination Squad: Bell Pottinger, how we miss you!


Marianne Thamm has toiled as a journalist / writer / satirist / editor / columnist / author for over 30 years. She has published widely both locally and internationally. It was journalism that chose her and not the other way around. Marianne would have preferred plumbing or upholstering.

There is nothing more insulting to citizens than fake-sounding fake news.

Note: And just when you thought it couldn’t get any stranger, details of the alleged assassination plot emerged in court and it seems the alleged assassinator was plying his trade to both sides. (See Greg Nicolson’s article on Daily Maverick).

It is no coincidence that in the few weeks since UK PR firm Bell Pottinger cut all ties with South Africa’s First Family, the Guptas and their company Oakbay, the quality of our fake news has rapidly deteriorated. The trick to manufacturing good fake news is that it has to sound vaguely plausible. There is nothing more insulting to citizens than fake-sounding fake news. Which is why the Hawks’ biggest announcement this year, that they have thwarted a massive plot to assassinate 23 “prominent” South Africans, was met largely with guffaws and raised eyebrows, and that’s about it.

If you are going to go underground to plot the most audacious operation in all of South African history – colonial, postcolonial, apartheid and post-apartheid – the assassination of 23 “prominent” South Africans including the President of the Republic of South Africa, it would be advisable not to call yourself the Anti-State Capture Death Squad Alliance (ASCDSA) or the Anti-White Monopoly Capitalists Regime (which the Hawks in their statement abbreviated to AEMCG).

It just looks and sounds suspicious, doesn’t it? 

You’re asking for trouble starting a WhatsApp group with either of those titles.

But don’t diss it yet.

In these counterintuitive times, perhaps waving something right under Minister of State Security David Mahlobo’s nose is how you get it ignored. We could bore you with a long list – Nkandla, the Waterkloof Airbase Guptagate wedding party, the break-in at the State Security headquarters, the heist at OR Tambo, the break-in at the Chief Justice’s Offices, oh, and the one at the Helen Suzman Foundation and now the SABC offices at Parliament. Mahlobo appears to be extremely short-sighted, having been smoked out of a Mpumalanga massage parlour linked to rhino horn syndicates. And he didn’t know! Really, he just went for a pedicure.

It is what is known as the hiding in plain sight strategy. Works like a charm.

The 23-year-old coup plotter – actually now revealed to be 33 (“it was a typo”, the Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi corrected on Thursday) – was also clearly aware that the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation has um, other priorities, having declined to investigate strange cash deposits into the private accounts of senior SARS officials, dragging their feet on Prasa corruption as well as taking ages to get to a whole list of huge corruption scandals involving the politically connected.

Look, Ntlemeza couldn’t even deliver Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to his masters.

Do we blame the 23-year-old (33?) for being so brazen?

But wait, there might be a twist to the tale.

What the amateur didn’t bargain on clearly is that The Bern has, according to our Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, gone “rogue” and is using “safe houses” in Gauteng, and may be “armed and dangerous” while plotting some operation of his own. 

What if the Minister and Ntlemeza are in cahoots? All the time pretending to claw each others’s eyes out in affidavits and press conferences when they are, in fact, part of an elaborate ruse to fool the assassin and cover up for the fact that The Bern had actually gone underground just so that he could bust the 23-year-old (33?) ringleader who was plotting to kill – according to ANN7’s “inside sources” – Jacob Zuma, one of his sons, former Eskom chairman Dr Ben Ngubane, former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe, all the Gupta brothers and several others.

“You will actually be shocked if we hear the other names,” an excited ANN7 journalist said.

The Hawks’ statement issued on Wednesday provides the deepest insight in the entire matter and in order not to interfere in any way with the flo lest we are accused of manufacturing fake news, we reprint it here as is (grammatical errors and all):

“PRETORIA – During October 2016 the Hawks intercepted communication material of possible. assassinations which were being planned where various members from the cabinet, state owned entities and prominent South African were listed as targets.

The Hawks acted upon the information received and conducted undercover operations in Pretoria and Johannesburg which lead to the arrest of a 23 year old African male for allegedly plotting to assassinate officials perceived as state capture beneficiaries. Almost 19 individuals were targeted and their names will only be divulged in court.

The suspect and a founder member of the Anti-State Capture Death Squad Alliance (ASCDSA) was arrested on the 26th April 2017 in Midrand while he was busy explaining to the donors how the assassination of state capture beneficiaries was going to be carried out by the undercover coup plot snipers.

The communication intercepted by the investigators included various letters which were sent to selected companies to donate money at a total amount of one hundred and forty million rands (R140m) to fund the alleged clandestine operation.

During the ongoing investigation another group, the Anti-White Monopoly Capitalists Regime (AWMCG) surfaced which necessitated a two prong investigation approach.

It was discovered that the AWMCG used the same operandi soliciting donations in order to assassinate senior government officials and other South African citizens. Four individuals were allegedly targeted for this operation, their names will also be revealed in court.

A search was conducted at the suspects’ home and evidentiary proof was confiscated for further investigations. It further transpired that there were other companies he solicited funds from using same modus operandi.

The suspect is expected to appear before Johannesburg Magistrate Court on Friday 28 April 2017 to face conspiracy to commit murder and other charges. Bail will be opposed to allow further investigation.”

Get the popcorn. DM


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