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Spy: Uncovering Craig Williamson

Publish date: 10 April 2017
Issue Number: 721
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: General

Spy: Uncovering Craig Williamson

Jonathan Ancer

Jacana. R240

A burly bear of a man with ginger hair, Craig Williamson had in 1980 been hailed by his Security Branch masters as the apartheid regime's ‘super spy’. This after it was revealed that he had infiltrated the National Union of South African Students, the International University Exchange Fund in Geneva, the ANC in exile and even, according to his handler Johan Coetzee, the KGB. Jonathan Ancer's account of the life and times of Williamson makes extensive use of interviews with people who knew him. It paints a picture of a man who, even from his school days, was not particularly well-liked. Yet in spite of the occasional slip-up he managed to pull the wool over a lot of people's eyes for far too long. He may not have been a super spy, but Williamson caused a lot of damage to the anti-apartheid movement – both through the paranoia and suspicion which his exposure led to within the exile movement and the attacks he carried out in the 1980s.

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