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Confessions of a Stratcom Hitman

Confessions of a Stratcom Hitman

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“Using the word as loosely as some South Africans do today, strips it of its intentional and intimate terror. […] The diluted use of the word today empties out the pain it was designed to cause. We in Stratcom wanted to annihilate, not only get the odd positive story into the papers to prop up De Klerk. We were trained to permanently neutralise, ideas or people or institutions, on behalf of the government of the day.

Stratcom then was nothing like the tame, badly behaved thing some South Africans – including the supporters of a couple of political parties – throw around on Twitter now. Those people who do that should read more and deeply come to terms with how it took Winnie apart on purpose, using unlimited state resources and money to do so.

It helped wreck her, just as it did many others.”

Paul Erasmus’s searing account of his time as a security policeman during apartheid is nothing short of explosive. In this book, remarkable for its candour as for its effort at Erasmus’ attempt at coming to a reckoning with the atrocities he committed and was party to, we read of the National Party’s determination to destroy Winnie Mandela, to terrorise anti-apartheid activists, to smear and compromise people who did not accept the Volk en Vaderland way. Erasmus lays bare the corruption and power mongering in the South African Police, and the fascist associations that some cops were linked to. He names names, but ultimately asks himself how he could have done what did. His testimony before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was extensive, and allowed a view into the world of Stratcom. This book takes that testimony a step further.

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