Mbeki urges South Africans not to allow state capture to happen again

He explained that the onus is now on all South Africans to introspect and determine where the country went wrong in allowing the pillage of state resources by private businesses.

Former president Thabo Mbeki at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg during his 80th birthday celebrations. Picture: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - Former president Thabo Mbeki said the post-state capture commission period presents a major challenge to the country.

He explained that the onus is now on all South Africans to introspect and determine where the country went wrong in allowing the pillage of state resources by private businesses.

Mbeki was addressing reporters on the sidelines of his birthday celebrations in Johannesburg on Monday.

The former president said there were many questions that South Africans must answer.

"What happened is that as South Africans, we allowed this destruction to take place. We were all around somewhere in our society. How do we make sure this does not happen, that we recover from this great tragedy?"

Some commentators have argued that while the former statesman is quick to point to the devastation caused by state capture, the ground was already being laid for the collapse of the state during his tenure.

He said he sympathised with President Cyril Ramaphosa: "Allow the law to take its course, I hope the Hawks - as they say they are investigating - will move on the matter speedily. The country is asking for many explanations about many things. That legal process will help provide the answers."

Mbeki was president between 1999 and 2008.

Some of the events that laid a fertile ground for state capture such as the dissolution of the law enforcement outfit, the Scorpions, took place in the later years of his tenure.

Mbeki on state capture: The ANC has to take responsibility