1 February 2013

South Africa: President Zuma Should Suspend Mac Maharaj

press release

I will today write to President Zuma to recommend that he suspend the spokesperson in the Presidency, Mac Maharaj, with immediate effect.

The public protector must investigate the allegations against Mr Maharaj in this morning's Mail and Guardian; and Mr Maharaj should be suspended from his office until that investigation can be completed.

The ever-increasing stack of allegations brought forward by the Mail and Guardian, in particular the allegations made by Mr Maharaj's sister-in-law, seems to suggest that Mr Maharaj did in fact receive a kickback from Thales, the French weapons manufacturer that bribed Schabir Shaik. If the allegations by Mr Maharaj's sister-in-law are in fact true, a direct link can be drawn between Mr Maharaj and Thales, via the Swiss bank account he allegedly opened to facilitate Thales' payments to him.

The Presidency cannot continue to function with a spokesperson of questionable credibility. Mr Maharaj's presence undercuts the very legitimacy of the office he serves. It cannot continue.

Mr Maharaj should leave his post in the interest of the Presidency and the country

Mmusi Maimane, DA National Spokesperson

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