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The disinformation campaign against Winnie Mandela

Listen to Paul Erasmus, former apartheid security policeman, who was hired to wage a propaganda campaign against liberation movements and specifically, against Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. He speaks about how they followed her every step and whatever she did they wrote about but twisted the story to discredit her. He would then drop-off the manufactured stories at media outlets who would publish them…


WINNIE MADIKIZELA-MANDELA’s death is forcing us to revisit the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). And it is exposing the hidden truth, some of it hidden by the Commission itself. Although it has always been known that some journalists colluded with the apartheid government in a disinformation campaign against the liberation movements, the names of the journalists, fourty of them said to have directly or indirectly worked for STRATCOM have not been disclosed. Stratcom is the apartheid security police propaganda machinery.

Paul Erasmus again at the Ahmed Timol inquest


An article by the South African Press Association (SAPA) published in November 1997:

“Stratcom, the propoganda apparatus of the apartheid security police, used Winnie Madikizela-Mandela as a tool to discredit the entire African National Congress, the Truth and Reconciliation Commision was told on Friday.

Former Stratcom head Vic McPherson said during the 1980s various disinformation campaigns were launched to discredit the ANC, to promote disunity between the ANC and SA Communist Party, and to sow division within the ranks of the liberation movement.

Articles were placed in South African and international newspapers discrediting Madikizela-Mandela with “several notable successes”, according to documents submitted to the TRC from a Stratcom disinformation campaign known as Operation Romulus.

A document entitled “Dissemination of suitable material re Winnie Mandela abroad: Discreditation of the ANC”, said a “veritable mass of material” was forwarded to the media “with the specific objective of using Winnie Mandela… to discredit the ANC as a whole”.

Articles highly critical of Madikizela-Mandela appeared in early 1991 in leading British newspapers The Sunday Times, The Times, The Independent, Daily Express and other newspapers.

An article appeared in the United States Vanity Fair entitled “How bad is Winnie Mandela?” The document was written by former Stratcom operative Paul Erasmus, who took the stand with McPherson, and signed on June 20, 1991 by his section head, a Major GHB Bruwer.

McPherson said: “The subject, Winnie Mandela, was considered as a revolutionary.”

McPherson said he would not apologise to Madikizela-Mandela for smear campaigns, because at the time the country was at war. This included psychological warfare.

McPherson said TRC chairman Achbishop Desmond Tutu was also a Stratcom subject.

Deputy TRC chairman Alex Boraine asked if opposition politicians in Parliament were also on the list. “Why was I on the list?” Boraine asked. Mcpherson answered that there were hundreds of people on the list.


The TRC received the names of these journalists, but there was seemingly some agreement reached that they would not be disclosed. Here’s a transcript from the TRC from a conversation between Deputy TRC Chairman Alex Boraine and Winnie Mandela’s lawyer Ishmael Semenya.

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As Roland Williams put it on Twitter:

“So the dirty-tricks, Apartheid collusionists, oppression collaborators, racism mongers are protected by the TRC, but Mam Winnie is paraded by the same TRC as a killer, on the basis of the lies propagated by the same journos? Dont know whether 2 laugh or cry! Outrageous.

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 || Uncensored Opinion

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