Insurrection: WhatsApp ‘instigator’ linked to Zuma family

The social media messages of a young KZN provocateur, who posted calls to shut down the highways, take us a step closer to the Zuma family.

An ANC Youth League member who posted a video of trucks blocking a highway and a voice note calling on comrades to shut down other arterial routes was a business partner of one of Zuma’s daughters.

The video and voice note were posted by Sanele Zakhele Masuku and were first exposed on social media on July 18 by a twitter account calling itself @CRSupporter and first reported on July 30 in the Daily Maverick.

Now amaBhungane can reveal that Masuku is linked to the heart of the Zuma family, via a business, Thokozilethula, registered in 2017 together with Zuma’s daughter Brumelda.

According to Masuku, he met Brumelda at the University of Zululand, where she graduated in 2019. Recently she was filmed offering support to her father at Nkandla ahead of his incarceration.

Brumelda could not be reached for comment.

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In the video, a voice that appears to match Masuku’s says, “I’m very busy… get Nxamalala [Zuma] out.”

Watch the video posted on Whatsapp

The images show trucks blocking all lanes at what appears to be an intersection along the John Ross highway, between Empangeni and Richards Bay. Masuku’s twitter handle says he is based in Richard’s Bay.

Then, a minute later, he posts a recording calling for other routes to be shut down.

In Zulu, the voice says, “So, we ask you Comrades, that you must get up in your areas, even if it is just ten of you, and stop four trucks in the road and then you’ll be done, and you can leave. Take the keys of those trucks; we thank you.”

The recordings were posted to a WhatsApp group called “Free Zuma Information”, which includes Carl Niehaus and other prominent Zuma supporters.

According to Daily Maverick the group was first called “Free Zuma Coordinators” and later changed its name.

Masuku confirmed to both Daily Maverick and amaBhungane that he had posted the video, but said he had not been involved and denied the voice was his.

He told amaBhungane he had merely posted the recordings as received.

“I forwarded the videos because I was also in the group. I don’t remember how I got the link. I think I was in four other groups that were saying Free Jacob Zuma. I think I got that video from someone’s status. If you look correctly in that video, you can see that it is screen recorded. I was sharing because videos were being shared by many people so I was also sharing what was happening on my side.”

Regarding the voice note, Masuku said, “That was not me. I got it from the other group and posted it on the other side.”

However, a technical expert consulted by amaBhungane said that if the voice note was forwarded or shared from somewhere else, it would not show Masuku’s profile picture – as this one does.

Masuku claims to have no relationship with former President Zuma. He said he and Brumelda Zuma “used to go to the same school a long time ago”.

He said they were both at the University of Zululand where he did a Bachelor of Administration degree and the company they registered “did not go anywhere and we didn’t do anything with it”.

The recordings and Masuku’s link with Brumilda will increase the scrutiny of the role of members of the Zuma family in inciting the violence that cost some 337 lives, including numerous calls for Zuma’s daughter to be charged.

A twitter account linked to Duduzile posted numerous approving takes on incidents of shut-down and burning at the height of what President Cyril Ramaphosa has characterised as an attempted insurrection against the state.

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