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Gqubule-Mbeki and Another v Economic Freedom Fighters and Another (30143/2018) [2020] ZAGPJHC 2

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Gqubule-Mbeki and Another v Economic Freedom Fighters and Another (30143/2018) [2020] ZAGPJHC 2

28th January 2020

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Click here to read the full judgment on Saflii

[1] There is an ongoing public debate about the infiltration of media houses by StratCom and the use of the media to spread disinformation about anti-apartheid activists. In the founding papers filed in this application, StratCom is defined as a notorious propaganda and disinformation unit of the security police of the apartheid government. The big question that has come up is: who are the journalists who worked with StratCom in that regard?

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[2] When she testified at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (“TRC”) more than two decades ago, the late Ms Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (“Ms Madikizela- Mandela”) named Thandeka-Gqubule Mbeki and Nomavenda Mathiane as two such journalists. The TRC did not confirm the allegations due to lack of evidence.

[3] More than 20 years later, before she passed away, Ms Madikizela-Mandela repeated the allegations in a documentary on her life aired by the Huffington Post (“HP”) on 4 April 2018. This time she included Anton Harber’s (“Mr Harber”) name alongside that of Ms Gqubule-Mbeki and Ms Mathiane as StratCom journalists. Subsequently, the Economic Freedom Front (“the EFF”) and its national spokesperson Dr Mbuyiseni Quinton Ndlozi (“Dr Ndlozi”) published certain statements peddling these allegations. Aggrieved by these statements, Ms Gqubule-Mbeki and Mr Harber brought this application to clear their names.

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