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Was Mac Maharaj a spy?

Marleen Smith

Liberation struggle veteran Mac Maharaj was asked on Tuesday to react to an allegation that he himself had been an apartheid agent. The former transport minister was shown a book during his cross-examination before the Hefer commission, in which he is accused of having been an apartheid government agent. Sparks fly at Hefer commission 'Mo Shaik fingered Ngcuka'

Liberation struggle veteran Mac Maharaj was asked on Tuesday to react to an allegation that he himself had been an apartheid agent.

The former transport minister was shown a book during his cross-examination before the Hefer commission, in which he is accused of having been an apartheid government agent.

Advocate Norman Arendse, for Justice Minister Penuell Maduna, produced the book titled $ellout! by one Pieter Jacobus Pretorius. It was published in 1997. Pretorius claimed to be an advocate and former agent of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

Ironically, Maharaj is one of the main accusers of National Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka. The commission was set up to probe allegations that Ngcuka had informed on his comrades to the apartheid government.

Maharaj refused to comment on the book, save for calling it strange that the NIA had never threatened legal steps against the writer.

Intelligence legislation forbids both current and former spies from revealing protected information.

Maharaj further told Arendse that he knew of an e-mail message that emanated last week in which spying allegations were made against him.

Arendse suggested that Maharaj could have been suspected as an informer because of his contact with the then so-called super-spy for the apartheid government, Craig Williamson.

Maharaj confirmed that he met with Williamson on several occasions in cities such as Geneva, London and Lusaka before he was exposed in 1980.

He conceded that Williamson could have tried to use him to further his own ends.

Maharaj further conceded that he was not 100% sure that Ngcuka was an apartheid spy. This was why he had been delving into Ngcuka’s past since the start of the commission inquiry.

“There is never enough information until you have established a thing with 100% certainty,” Maharaj explained.

He nevertheless believed in the correctness of a conclusion in an African National Congress intelligence report dating from late 1989 or early 1990, Maharaj said.

According to this the current chief prosecutor was “most probably” an apartheid spy.—Sapa

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