South Africans love a good intelligence dossier. Every few years a badly written document purporting to be one makes its way to the media, and a career is destroyed. A few years ago, when I was working with union leader Zwelinzima Vavi, he became a victim of such a dossier. It accused him of all sorts of unpatriotic things against the state. He approached the office of the inspector-general for intelligence to establish the status of this so-called dossier. After many months, the report was published. It read something along the lines of the dossier being the work of a new breed of people known as “information peddlers”. This was the early days of post-truth politics, which would be elevated into an art form by the biggest producer of fake news in the White House. This wouldn’t be the end of it. After a series of skirmishes with his then-finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, former president Jacob Zuma finally found an excuse to sack him. This came in the form of another “intelligence d...

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