Last week the pioneering journalist, former activist and former detainee in apartheid cells, Thandeka Gqubule, was forced to respond to allegations by the Economic Freedom Fighters that she had, as alleged by Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in a posthumously released video, done the work of the apartheid communications network Stratcom.

She was not the only one: the venerable Anton Harber, co-founder of the anti-apartheid newspaper The Weekly Mail (later the Mail & Guardian) was also accused. Not a single shred of evidence was proffered.

None exists, of course.

It is worth noting that Truth and Reconciliation Commission records show that Vic McPherson, the apartheid spy and alleged source of these rumours, never put their names on any list as informers. Ironically, Stratcom was exposed by the Weekly Mail.

But who cares about the truth when you are trying to exploit Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s death for votes?

Our history has taught us and many of our so-called political leaders nothing. For those of us who remember the unspeakable horrors that happened here just 30 years ago, perhaps it is time to redouble our efforts to stop this country and the many political opportunists who pop up when a political leader dies from forgetting the pain we have gone through. On July 20 1985 some residents of Duduza on the East Rand accused Maki Skosana of being an apartheid informer. Three young activists from the township had been lied to by the notorious askari (an ANC member under apartheid who turned into a police agent and killer) Joe Mamasela.Believing they were dealing with a legitimate ANC soldier, they had accepted hand grenades from Mamasela. The grenades were boobytrapped: when the youth activists pulled on their pins to attack their intended targets (local policemen and an electricity substation), the grenades exploded and killed the young men instead. The askari had a connection with a woma...

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