Madikizela-Mandela 'had no direct evidence' that journalists were spies

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (Photo by Gallo Images/City Press/Leon Sadiki)
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (Photo by Gallo Images/City Press/Leon Sadiki)

Following an uproar over Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's allegations that a number of journalists were employed by the former apartheid government as spies, a transcript of her testimony at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) shows that she didn't have any concrete evidence to back up her claims.

In a video clip, which was recently published on HuffPost SA, Madikizela-Mandela named journalists.

The video has since been removed from the website, after HuffPost SA acknowledged that it was published without the necessary comment from the journalists, Thandeka Gqubule and Anton Harber.

The clip featured Madikizela-Mandela and the director of the documentary Winnie, Pascale Lamche, during the promotion stages of the documentary.

WATCH: Thandeka Gqubule: 'I would rather have died than have been a spy'

However, it has emerged in TRC transcripts that Madikizela-Mandela said she had "no direct evidence" that any journalist worked for the apartheid government's Stratcom.

Dumisa Ntsebeza, who was the TRC's investigations head, asked Madikizela-Mandela about her accusations.

"…You indicated that your subsequent information throughout the years had been that the first reporters who broke the so-called story, the Stompie affair, and you mentioned Thandi Makubule (sic) … that they had been part of the informers who were planted in the media," he said.

Madikizela-Mandela responded: "I had no direct evidence. I had no access to Stratcom information. That was just information at the time, in the same fashion they spread information about people like myself."

Ntsebeza pushed her on the matter, but she responded: "I really wouldn't confirm that their names are on that list. I was merely giving information of the time, at the time."

READ: Dumisa Ntsebeza accuses Winnie documentary maker of having 'no regard for our people'

Gqubule said she was never going to hide following the accusations. She came out this week and defended herself and the industry that she loved.

"Now I stand accused of being a Stratcom spy. And for the sake of history, let me say I will never reveal the sources for that story, but not a single one of them was a police source," Gqubule said at a press briefing earlier this week.

"But did you at any stage see or hear that I or my colleagues who worked at the Weekly Mail were agents of Stratcom? Or did you just hear that we did an honest story and did journalism, investigative journalism, and we were indeed ahead of the police investigation on [these] matters and we punched above our weight," Gqubule said.

"I am going to the High Court to apply to have the intelligence services in this country take those files, give them to the judge and then make them publicly available, so that we can [put] this whole nonsense to bed once and for all," she said.

READ: Journalist Thandeka Gqubule plans to go to court to declassify Stratcom documents to clear her name

Harber also dismissed the allegations.

He said the suggestion that he or the Weekly Mail did the work of Stratcom was "absolute dangerous nonsense".

"The Weekly Mail exposed Stratcom and was targeted by it. Stratcom was in the business of destroying people through disinformation, and it seems like that is continuing."

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