Anonymous hacktivists take on Cape Town
(An edited version of this article was published in Weekend Argus, a weekly regional newspaper in the Western Cape province, South Africa, on 7 July 2014.)
Written by Yazeed Kamaldien
A group of Cape Town hactivists have vowed to target businesses or government departments that “do something wrong against citizens”.
Anonymous Cape Town, taking queue from a global movement, yesterday said it was considering its first target: the South African National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral).
Its members generally do not disclose their identities though and wear white masks, copying the anarchist character in the Hollywood film V for Vendetta.
The Anonymous member said: “We want to change the system. We don’t hack for personal gain. We hack for the gain of others.”
“A lot of our guys are planning to hack Sanral because of the way they evicted informal settlers in Lwandle (Strand). They did something wrong. We want to hack them and get the message out that what they did was wrong.”
He added: “We can quite easily take down their website.”
The group of masked Anonymous members yesterday walked around central Cape Town to inform locals about their work. They said they had 90 members spread across the city.
Another masked member said he joined the group because he did not want to work with an NGO “because they have their own focus and agendas”.
“The mask says what I’m doing is not to gain credit for myself. I could be anyone and we are all trying to help out. Anyone can be part of us and make a difference,” he said.
He said they participated in beach and railway line clean ups, fed hungry and poor citizens and participated in public protests.
“Today we are engaging with the public so that when they see us doing things in future they will know who we are. We are willing to get out there and help in any way we can. We want to see results,” he said.
The group handed out flyers to passersby and also invited them to join The Big Hug, an event planned for July 26 at the Sea Point promenade.
Brandon Bernado, a Grade 12 learner from Piketberg, thought Anonymous “can make a difference”.
“Generally, I don’t care what happens in society. But corruption and lies bother me. Politics is stupid and childish that adults can act like that,” said Bernado.
Eustine Moyo, a Grade 11 learner from Athlone, said: “I feel we live in a dictatorship. The government gets away with a lot of stuff. We need to take a stand against it.”
Zaakir Jardine, a student at the University of the Western Cape, said he heard about the international Anonymous movement. It was the first he had heard about a local group.
“I know it’s a movement that opposes government and how it controls people. They can have an impact in Cape Town. People need to know what our government is doing. When you tell people certain things, they don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.