Anton Harber, Thandeka Gqubule drag EFF to court over Stratcom comments

Thandeka Gqubule. (Sharlene Rood, News24)
Thandeka Gqubule. (Sharlene Rood, News24)

The EFF is on the receiving end of two senior journalists' court bid to compel the party to retract its claims that they were apartheid-era Stratcom spies.

Veteran journalist Thandeka Gqubule, one of the "SABC 8", and Professor Anton Harber have taken the matter to the High Court in Johannesburg.

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 video 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, saying 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. 

"Sanef's silence at these revelations indicates its double standard and lack of commitment to ethical journalism. The Stratcom journalists were party to the destruction of lives and mass murder of activists by the apartheid regime," read parts of the statement.

READ: EFF loses two court matters in ongoing battle with AfriForum 

"A video showing Mama Winnie Mandela naming some of these journalists has long come out, yet Sanef is dead silent." 

Last month, Gqubule gave the EFF one week to prove allegations that she was a spy.

READ: Journalist Thandeka Gqubule gives EFF one week to prove apartheid spy claims, or pay up

In an interview with Karima Brown on Talk Radio 702, she revealed that she had obtained declassified documents proving that Stratcom was, in fact, spying on her.

Now Gqubule and Harber have approached the court for relief.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi confirmed that the party received court papers from Harber and Gqubule.

Ndlozi added that the party filed responding papers and added that it was waiting for a court date.

Harber said he and Gqubule asked the court to order the red berets to withdraw the statement from the party's website and apologise to them.

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