Conspiracy theorist Sizwe Dlamini is at it again

NO SOONER had ‘investigative reporter’ Sizwe Dlamini, of the Independent Group’s self-styled ‘falcons’ investigation team, erroneously claimed that he had exposed Branko Birkic’s Daily Maverick, for being, (wait for it), a ‘newspaper with subscribers’, the conspiracy theorist was railing against the Institute for Race Relations (IRR) for its backing of online site, Daily Friend.

Dlamini’s latest exercise in yellow journalism proceeds at the outset to laud IRR for being ‘guardians of liberal values in South Africa” before embarking on what could also be termed an ‘agit prop conspiracy piece’ attempting to discredit the conservative thinktank for being a ‘neo-liberal’ organisation funded by the US State Department.

You can read his earlier missive here.

Neither the common dreams article referred to by Dlamini nor another piece by the same key author Roscoe Palm mention IRR and the Daily Friend. Rather these pieces pillory the National Endowment for Democracy (NED and Open Society Foundation (OSF) and their alleged support of 24 news organizations within the country, including Mail and Guardian and the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism.

It should be noted that the authors Palm and former Congress of the People, (Cope) organizer, Philip Dexter, are co-founders of the Pan African Institute for Socialism and cannot claim to be objective reporters.

amaBhungane have issued strong denials of any support from USAid and its Micah Reddy has taken “issue with a number of claims and suggestions made by the authors” calling the article a “demonstrable lie.”

Sam Sole of amaBhungane responds: “Although the article purports to be an analysis of a real phenomenon, it is actually an attempt to manufacture a moral panic without disclosing the origins of the debate or the involvement of one of the authors, Roscoe Palm.” You can read his full response here.

Journo Chris Roper is also outed as an alleged CIA funded-agent by Palm (any comment’s appreciated).

It would seem patronising to suggest as Palm and Philip Dexter do, that other organisations such as News24, which are amply funded due to their connections with former Nationalist Party oligarchs, and which have long since been exposed here for involvement in government kickbacks like the notorious MNet pay-tv deal, require any foreign aid, if at all. In fact the obvious failure to tackle my own revelations, and case, lead one to conclude there to be an obvious agenda flowing from the obfuscation and removal of the primary context of apartheid.

The links to the American State Department presented are tenuous at best and seem drafted to coincide with the recent visit by Secretary of State Athony Blinken amidst a fracus over Taiwan and Ukraine.

The NED association with Ronald Reagan’s purported covert operations against Nicaragua in the 1980s and thus by implication, the work of US intelligence agencies such as the CIA, are used by Palm and Dexter as broad brush strokes, harking back to the Cold War, and thus a convenient bogeyman with which to smear progressive and conservative media alike.

It is clear that both Dexter and Dlamini view anyone vaguely to the centre of the far-left as compromised. Critics of ultra-left factions trumpeting ‘Radical Economic Transformation’ and ‘Expropriation without Compensation’, are thus according to these self-appointed spokesmen for Socialism, nothing more than dangerous counter-Marxists. Committed capitalists, who if parties like the EFF were to attain power, might need to attend compulsory political re-education camps, or face involuntary psychiatric confinement, as do Cuba’s own dissidents.

One should again note the weird contradiction in logic displayed by Dlamini, for at once praising liberalism before engaging in a critique of neoliberalism, which in many respects could also be a criticism of government regulation and Keynesian economics, if only it weren’t a tired scholastic segue, one tediously proposing a fundamental reorganisation of society along Marxist-Leninist principles.

Independent Media is the daily news outlet which continues to stand by a thoroughly discredited multi-baby story, (babygate) and which has found itself in a battle to maintain its banking facilities, this after various banks deemed Executive Chairman Iqbal Surve, a ‘reputational risk’. Clearly a company out to get other media outlets with which it disagrees, and then calling foul when placed on the receiving end of serious criticism whose outcome is of no small consequence?

Next up: South Africans have unwittingly been watching American movies for decades. Better alert the press.

SEE: Manufactured dissent: Authoritarian left and right join hands against South Africa’s independent media

SEE: Harber responds — Mainstream media need to think twice when following the ‘facts

Sekunjalo has another Jack Ma moment

THIS WEEK saw ABSA bank withdraw its support for Sekunjalo and Iqbal Survé, citing reputational damage without providing any details. Apparently the bank doesn’t have to supply evidence in court and may boot its clients willy-nilly — on the mere off chance that they represent a risk to shareholder’s profits.

If the attempts by some media critics to paint this as another example of the end of the Gupta years, stemming from the shenanigans at Ayo, seem a little odd given Sekunjalo’s balance sheet, then perhaps it has something to do with the proverbial Iqbal Survé Jack Ma moment. If you remember, Ma fell out of grace with the Chinese Communist Party in November last year, resulting in the cancellation of the Ant Group IPO.

Similarly, Survé’s Sagarmartha IPO failed after the PIC pulled the carpet citing lack of due diligence. If you managed to catch the tail-end of the saga, and last month’s presentation given to a special parliamentary portfolio committee, then you will realise that Survé didn’t take things laying down.

He appears to have spun-off the troublesome Independent Group’s assets into a special interest vehicle, the Independent Consortium, whilst saving both Premier Fishing and Loot.com, two highly cash-generative operations, that form part of his vast empire.

It doesn’t take much digging to find the cause of Absa’s butt-headed reaction, since Survé has been waging a tit-for-tat battle with other media groups, in particular Naspers, itself a mere pawn in a broader financial empire, whose ultimate source of control is the web of intrigue surrounding the Rupert family and Rupert Beleggings.

Since the Rupert’s were instrumental in the creation of Amalgamated Banks of South Africa (Absa), after their well-documented bail-out of the apartheid state and its banking sector during the 80s, which also saw the dynasty benefit from various so-called ‘life-boats’ floated by Chris Stals et al, and are consequently the main sponsors behind the ANC, their erstwhile banking partners might not be all that happy to have Sekunjalo as a client.

Look no further than the history of Volkskas on sahistory.org.za

The move comes as President Ramaphosa was lambasted by the NEC’s Dlamini-Zuma for his apparent proximity to Johann Rupert. Hypocrisy considering the party’s longstanding relationship with its former National Party allies.

In 2018 columnist Azad Essa claimed that the Independent Group cancelled his column immediately after he published a column distributed to a number of Independent Media newspapers critical of China’s mass internment of ethnic Uighurs.

The prospect of Sekunjalo being refused a business license under the current political dispensation in which the ruling party operates as if South Africa is, for all intents and purposes, a one party state, will no doubt come to haunt Survé.

Reports have emerged that Survé initially chose the China National Bank as an alternative to Absa, only to find that keeping ones money in an authoritarian regime, is well, not exactly Swiss banking.