EFF retracts 'Stratcom agent' allegations against Gqubule and Harber, apologises after court order

2020-01-25 09:07
Dr. Mbuyiseni Ndlozi Foto: Daily Sun

Dr. Mbuyiseni Ndlozi Foto: Daily Sun

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The EFF has retracted allegations that veteran journalists Thandeka Gqubule and Anton Harber were "Stratcom" agents, following a court order handed down in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Friday.

Judge Lebogang Modiba found EFF's labelling of Gqubule and Harber as Stratcom agents in a press release to be unlawful and ordered the party to, within 24 hours of the granting of the order, remove the statements from all their media platforms, including their website and Ndlozi's Twitter account, and to publish a notice on platforms where the statements had been published in which they unconditionally retract and apologise.

On Saturday, the EFF issued a statement saying: "In terms of the court order, we unconditionally retract and apologize for the allegations made against Mrs. Thandeka Gqubule-Mbeki and Mr. Anton Harber."

The party was also interdicted from publishing any statements that say or imply that the journalists worked for or collaborated with the apartheid government, and was ordered to pay damages of R40 000 to each of the applicants, as well as Gqubule and Harber's costs.

News 24 previously reported that on April 4, 2018, HuffPost SA posted a video clip of an interview conducted with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in June 2017. The interview was arranged after the screening of the documentary Winnie.

In the clip, Madikizela-Mandela referred to Gqubule, Harber and Nomavenda Mathiane. She said Gqubule was negatively disposed toward her and that the Weekly Mail, which Harber founded and edited in the 1980s, was "anti-me and anti-ANC".

She then claimed the Weekly Mail "actually did the job for Stratcom".

The EFF published a statement on April 12, condemning the SA National Editors' Forum's silence, claiming journalists who served on apartheid's Stratcom still reported in different newsrooms.

"Former apartheid special branch police have indicated that they had 40 journalists on their payroll working to destroy Mama Winnie Mandela. In a video recently released by Huffington Post, Mama Winnie Mandela mentions the current editor of Economic News in the SABC, Thandeka Gqubule, and Anton Harber, former editor at eNCA and a Wits Media and Journalism professor, as having worked for Stratcom," the statement read.

In August, Harber and Gqubule brought their defamation application to the court.

Judge Modiba found Ndlozi and the EFF's denial that they had directly called the applicants Stratcom agents to be disingenuous.

Read more on:    thandeka gqubule  |  anton harber  |  south africa  |  eff
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