It’s All Lies – Ranjeni Says – But Can She Be Trusted?

By Akuba Mokoena

WHEN Ranjeni Munusamy returned from journalism exile she raised eyebrows – well among others. She had left journalism in a disgrace having been fired by the Sunday Times for giving a rival paper, City Press, a false story that the Sunday Times had rejected. Once she left, she didnt stop there, if you’d ever doubted which side of the political spectrum she was on, she made it abundantly clear by publicly supporting former President Jacob Zuma and establishing his Friends of Jacob Zuma website for support to the former president during his corruption charges and rape trial. 

Once in the “wilderness” she turned to consulting – Ranjeni Communications which she reportedly said did “unorthodox” work. She became a conspicuous addition to the Schabir Shaik team during his corruption case at the Durban High Court and was one of Zuma’s biggest supporters. In fact there was talk that when Zuma won against former President Thabo Mbeki, Munusamy had a sure seat in the presidency. It was not to be and Munusamy ended in the office of Minister Blade Nzimande. 

After her fallout with Nzimande, her name emerged initially at the now defunct ThisDay and later the Daily Maverick. It came as a surprise not only that she had been allowed back into journalism after showing such disdain for the profession, but also that she had become a bitter critic of Zuma. 

In a piece, “Why I write what I write” in Daily Maverick, she responded to those who were skeptical of her independence given her close proximity to Zuma and subsequent fall-out. In a long-winded piece she seemed to blame just about everyone for her demise. The long and the short of it was essentially that she had been used – by just about everyone – from the City Press which supposedly distorted the false story about Bulelani Ngcuka being a spy, to Zuma himself. 

She had shown no remorse for what had happened and her employers never bothered to explain why they had allowed her back in. Colleagues in the industry never bothered to question, at least in public, why she would have been returned to an industry which depends on independence, honesty and integrity. Munusamy didnt have either but she held a very important tool at a time when South Africa’s media had taken a side in the campaign to remove Zuma from power. She also had friends in high places on either side of the ANC faction lines. At Daily Maverick it turns out to be former minister Jay Naidoo.

She was extremely bitter and angry at her former friend Zuma and unleashed a personal vendetta against him. In a television interview last year, EFF President Julius Malema disclosed that Munusamy had approached the EFF to propose Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan as interim president when Zuma is recalled:  “Ranjeni once went to Dali Mpofu and said ‘Guys, propose Pravin when we remove Zuma'”.

Her strategy has worked, she’s now an associate editor at Tiso BlackStar raking in a packet in salary. 

Munusamy is back in the headlines having been implicated twice at the State Capture Commission for allegedly benefiting from a secret state security slush fund. Last week, senior Hawks official Kobus Roelefse testified at the State Capture Commission that a sum of R143 621 78 was paid from a Centurion-based motor dealership, Atlantis Motors, into a Wesbank finance account which was registered “under the name of Miss Ranjeni Munusamy”. Munusamy has denied these claims. 

Yesterday more information emerged from a second witness at the Commission, on how her car was serviced through the slush fund. It just so happened to be on a day when she submitted her affidavit to the Commission explaining how the balance payment for her car was paid by someone else who did not disclose to her that it was made from the Atlantis Motors. Munusamy also denies the allegations of the second witness although she didnt explain the matter of the R40,000 allegedly paid for repairs to her car.

What Degree Of Separation Is There Between A Politician, A Spy And A Journalist?

THE debate about the difference between a journalist and a spy has raged since time immemorial. Intelligence organisations have always used journalists and journalist cover, in order to gather information and to feed their narrative into public opinion.

Ranjeni Munusamy, associate editor of Tiso BlackStar, who is now on special leave following allegations that she benefitted from the state security slush fund, fits into one of those journalists whose motives will forever be questioned. 

Apart from her role in former President Jacob Zuma’s political career – pre and post his administration, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) claimed that she had talks with the party’s Chairperson Dali Mpofu to influence Zuma’s successor post Zuma’s recall. Munusamy did not refute the claims that she wanted the EFF to back Gordhan as the interim ANC president after Zuma’s recall.

She was also involved in exposing the identity of the whistleblower in the public protector’s investigation into allegations that Ivan Pillay’s pension fund was unlawful. The complaint was lodged by Lebogang Hoveka who Munusamy falsely described as a speechwriter in former Jacob Zuma’s office. Hoveka, in his statement, which we published here, said he was never in Jacob Zuma’s office but Munusamy was hellbent in swaying the perception of the public and Deputy Chief Justice Zondo that this complaint was part of what Gordhan has termed Zuma’s “fight back campaign”. 

The disclosures about Munusamy at the State Capture Commission, whether true or false, have put editors on the spotlight again – ow they respond to journalists who break the code of ethics and integrity of the profession. When the Daily Maverick, for purposes of pushing the agenda to oust Zuma at all costs, scraped at the bottom of the barrel and chose Munusamy, it was always going to come back to haunt the industry. 




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