There are things that the Russian state knows about your leaders that you, the ordinary South African, should know too — but don’t.

For example, in November the deputy president, David Mabuza, travelled to Russia for medical attention. This was his fourth trip for treatment in that country. What ails our dear leader, you may ask. He won’t tell you or me. Is there something embarrassing about the illness? If there is, then could it be that someone in Russia might threaten him with disclosure — and get state secrets out of him?

Mabuza did not start the Russia medical trend. Former president Jacob Zuma reportedly told an ANC national executive committee meeting that he had been poisoned three times and had received treatment in Russia. He told a meeting in Pongola, KwaZulu-Natal, in 2017 that he was poisoned for fighting for radical economic transformation.

Again, the question is: did the Russians have compromising information about the president? Is there a reason he was so keen on the financially ruinous nuclear build programme? We don’t know. These questions are necessary because more and more information is emerging about how Russia used various methods to influence the 2016 presidential elections in the US and perhaps install a preferred candidate in the White House. As we prepare to usher in the new year, I am quite interested to know who is going to elect SA’s new leaders in our 2019 elections. Will it be you, dear voter, or will you wittingly or unwittingly be influenced by Russia or some other foreign force? Just last week new details emerged that Russia’s elaborate influence campaign on social media in the US presidential elections made an extraordinary effort to target African Americans, to divide them and to sway their voting preferences. Newspaper reports say Russia used “an array of tactics to try to suppress turnout amon...

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