Dr. Eschel Rhoodie was born in 1933 and was one of the key players in the 1978-79 ‘Information Scandal’. He served as the Secretary of the Department of Information from 1972, while Dr Connie Mulder was Minister of the department.
Believing that standard diplomatic activity was insufficient to improve apartheid South Africa's negative image abroad, Rhoodie hatched secret projects with the knowledge and huge financial support of top political leaders. One example of this was the use of public funds globally to covertly entice finance journalists to write positive articles about South Africa in publications such as the weekly magazine To the Point. Rhoodie was employed as the press officer of the South African embassy in The Hague in 1971 and he made a clandestine agreement with Dutch publisher Hubert Jussen to establish the magazine.
The Department of Information, which Rhoodie headed, also launched The Citizen, a daily newspaper, and other publications and front organisations like ‘The Study of Plural Societies', the ‘SA Freedom Foundation' and the ‘Foreign Affairs Association'. During this time the Bureau of State Security (BOSS) created the ‘Committee for Fairness in Sport' to counteract South Africa's exclusion from international sport.
By 1973 Rhoodie had secured his relationship with BOSS and his position in the Department of Information. New projects were launched and tens of millions of Rands to secretly and illegally finance them came from government coffers.
In the late 1970s Rhoodie was found guilty of fraud and sentenced to 12 years in prison. The sentence was later reversed on appeal and he left for the United States of America. Rhoodie died on 17 July 1993.
Rhoodie was a prolific writer who published the following:
1967 Penal Systems of the Commonwealth: A Criminological Survey against the background of the cornerstones for a progressive correctional policy
1967 South-West: the last frontier in Africa
1969 The Paper Curtain
1968 The Third Africa
1976 Stepping into the Future
1983 The Real Information Scandal
1984 Discrimination in the constitutions of the World: A Study of the Group Rights Problem
1989 Discrimination against Women: A Global Survey of the Economic, Educational,Social and Political Status of Women
1989 PW Botha: the last betrayal
• De Beer, M. (1995). Who Did What in South Africa. Jeppestown: AD Donker
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