Well-known journalist Thandeka Gqubule received no closure at the briefing hosted by former ANC veteran Sydney Mufamadi after she questioned if he had any knowledge of her and her colleagues playing a part in Strategic Communications (Stratcom), the media operation to defame Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
The former Weekly Mail reporter, alongside other journalists, were accused of “negative reporting” by Madikizela-Mandela in a documentary about the struggle icon that aired on eNCA last week, titled ‘Winnie’.
The now economics editor at the SABC spoke to eNCA after the briefing, and said the allegations were mischievous.
“I don’t know where this mischievous notion that we are a part of Stratcom comes from.”
Asked why Winnie Madikizela-Mandela would out her publicly in the documentary, she said she wrote a lot about the Mandela Football Club and what members of the ‘football club’ got up to.
“We contributed to the reports in the media on the football club’s activities, and that would give her [Madikizela-Mandela] reason to believe they were against her when they were not.
“If someone wants to jump around in a red onesie and call me a spy they, have that prerogative,” she said, adding she had been through a myriad allegations since January, and was waiting for ‘them’ to come with more.
She wants to clear her name and the names of former colleagues, Anton Harber and Nomavenda Mthiyane.
She admitted the period was torturous, and said one of her objectives in court would be to find out who had paid her and who her handler was.
This was after she sought clarity from Mufamadi during the briefing on whether he was aware of her and her colleagues involvement in Stratcom.
Mufamadi responded to Gqubule’s questions by saying the country should thank her for what she did.
He said he didn’t know what people meant when they said Gqubule was working for Stratcom.
The former safety and security (police) minister singled her out and said she should not be deterred from being an honest journalist.
“You can’t work for stratcom and expose their operation. That’s simple logic,” he said, adding there was nobody who had come from the police to say, here are the Stratcom files.
Gqubule, maintaining her innocence, said she was disappointed at the response, as she was “hoping to know who her handler was”, and added she would then turn to the courts in a quest to clear her name.
“I’m disappointed, as I was just hoping that for the first time in my life, I would know who my handler was and that for the first time in my life, I would know myself and that I would know my code name.”
Gqubule will turn her quest to the high court to apply for the declassification of files involving her.
The award-winning documentary aired on television publicly for the first time after Madikizela-Mandela’s death last week.
The documentary showed how propaganda was used to weaken Madikizela-Mandela politically.