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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: Daily Maverick by amaBhungane & Scorpio.]

Scorpio has previously exposed how the Guptas and their British PR firm Bell Pottinger make use of fake social media profiles to disseminate a counter-narrative of “white monopoly capital” in order to defend their operations in South Africa. For those yet to be convinced, there is direct evidence from the #GuptaLeaks emails of one of the family’s lieutenants composing tweets for broadcast by fabricated Twitter accounts. 

Haranath Ghosh’s LinkedIn profile lists him as head of sales and marketing for Infinity Media Networks, the media arm of the Guptas’ business which includes TV station ANN7 and newspaper The New Age. But he has also held another job, serving as the Gupta family spokesperson on occasions in the past when Gupta actions have required spinning.

Evidence from the #GuptaLeaks emails shows, however, that it was not just the Guptas that Ghosh composed statements for. On at least one occasion, Ghosh also fabricated tweets to be sent out via the Guptas’ army of fake bots.

In September 2015, former Business Day editor Peter Bruce penned a column for the Sunday Times questioning President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane’s close relationship with the Gupta family.

The Guptas evidently felt that the charges warranted rebutting. The #GuptaLeaks emails show that erstwhile The New Age publisher and then Oakbay CEO Nazeem Howa was roped in to compose a letter to be sent to Sunday Times editor Phylicia Oppelt for publication under Duduzane Zuma’s name.

“In my culture I have been taught to be respectful of my elders, so let me start with apologising in advance for taking issue with you and your columnist Peter Bruce for the almost defamatory references to me in his column on Sunday,” the letter begins. “I know I am a young man, who grew up on the streets of Maputo, Lusaka and Harare before the fall of apartheid, so I am not as well-schooled as either of your good selves in customary business etiquette.”

Continue reading here.

South Africa at a Glance
57 700 000 (mid 2018 estimate)
4.5% y/y in May 2019 (CPI) & +6.4 y/y in May 2019 (PPI)
-3.2% q/q (1st quarter of 2019)
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