Maharaj: State capture report will show how corruption became systemic in SA

Mac Maharaj, in a wide-ranging sit-down with Eyewitness News, said that the outcomes of the commission spearheaded by Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo presented an opportunity to create a culture of accountability.

FILE: Mac Maharaj. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Former presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said that South Africans must insist on government taking appropriate action based on the outcomes of the state capture commission.

Maharaj, in a wide-ranging sit-down with Eyewitness News, said that the outcomes of the commission spearheaded by Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo presented an opportunity to create a culture of accountability.

He also believes that the report will show how corruption became systemic in the country.

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The first part of the report was made public on Tuesday – it looks into allegations of widespread corruption at state-owned enterprises during former President Jacob Zuma’s tenure.

Maharaj is a one-time ally as well as an adviser and mouthpiece for former President Zuma's for five years and is among those who’ve hailed the publishing of the Zondo Commission report as a win for democracy.

But Maharaj himself has not been without controversy. He has been accused of censoring the Mail & Guardian in 2012 for wanting to publish what they said proof that he lied during a section 28 inquiry called by the now disbanded Scorpions. Maharaj contended that the newspaper obtained the information illegally, despite it being in the public domain and parts of it published already in other newspapers. The accusations related to him allegedly receiving millions in kickbacks with Thales International during the controversial 1999 arms deal. Zuma and Thales will be before South African courts in April this year to continue the case.

In a conversation with Eyewitness News just before it was made public, Maharaj described the commission as a crucial instrument in addressing the country’s battle with corruption.

"Let those facts come on the table, let us see who has been responsible for doing what and how our state sunk into corruption and when it became systemic," Maharaj said.

READ: State capture report - Part 1

Judicial Commission of Inquiry Into State Capture Report_Part 1 by Primedia Broadcasting on Scribd

Maharaj said that even some of the disputes in the African National Congress (ANC) were linked to careerists who had used politics to further their personal interests.

He’s called on the ANC government to not only follow up on the commission findings but for the party to make it a touchstone for ANC members.

Maharaj said that this was the only way that meaningful cleansing would take place.

"N longer on the basis that it is one faction fightoing another but now on the basis that here are the facts, here are the corrupt, this is what needs to be done," Maharaj said.

The ANC stalwart said that debates on whether the party’s current president deserved a second term should be determined by whether he acted on the commission’s findings and recommendations against the corrupt.

WATCH: ‘Zuma’s tragic years have their genesis in an earlier time’ - Mac Maharaj on Zondo report