God, Spies and Lies


Now, for the first time, this seasoned and erudite insider reveals the secrets of a 40-year career observing the politicians, their spies and the journalists who wrote about them. As a patriot, he argues that the way to a better future can be found through an unvarnished examination of the past.

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ISBN: 9780994670236 Categories: , , Tags: , ,


“For a couple of months in the near perfect summer of 1990/1991, Jacob Zuma came to stay in my house in Norwood, Johannesburg… Twenty-five years later, my former house guest has all but morally bankrupted Nelson Mandela’s ruling African National Congress. President Zuma’s vision-free leadership, questionable personal behaviour an attempts to use his political power to distort the judicial system render him no better than Italy’s corrupt bunga-bunga-partying ex-prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi.”

Sp begins God, Spies and Lies, the explosive insider’s account of how South Africa got to where it is today – and how things went wrong. It takes you into the room with Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, into the Oval Office of the US President and the British Prime Minister’s Chequers country estate, as the fate of southern Africa was being set before and after 1994.

Among its revelations are:

  • How Nelson Mandela studied Afrikaner Broederbond as he set up the military wing. Umkhonto we Sizwe, in 1961.
  • The apartheid spy who fooled the white liberal elite.
  • What made George Bush Senior change his mind about white rule in southern Africa.
  • How Robert Mugabe fooled Mbeki’s intelligence services.
  • Why South Africa missed the Information Economy.
  • How Jacob Zuma came under the spell of the Chinese Communist Party.
  • What the 2015 student protests mean.
  • What it would take to get the country back on track.

John Matisonn has had a bird’s eye view of South Africa’s progress through apartheid and democracy. As a political and foreign correspondent, and one of the pioneers of democratic South Africa’s free broadcasting environment, he has known every ANC leader since Oliver Tambo and every government leader from John Vorster to Jacob Zuma.


Additional information

Dimensions 15 × 23 cm



Date Published





Softcover, 15x23cm, 440pp