Although threats have been made on her life, undeterred African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament Makhosi Khoza came out firing against corruption in the ANC on Tuesday, and made an emotional call for President Jacob Zuma to step down.
Khoza was addressing the Conference for the Future of South Africa on Tuesday alongside other keynote speakers such as former South African Revenue Service bigwig Peter Richer, Passenger Rail Agency South Africa (Prasa) board chair Popo Molefe, as well as businessperson and Save SA leader Sipho Pityana.
Labelled as "heroes" in the fight against state capture, the speakers detailed their experiences with corruption in various sectors.
Khoza said while she was associated with the ANC since the age of 12, was taught to "respect leadership directives" and was "socialised" to view anything that comes from an opponent with suspicion; she is now questioning whether there directives were "morally bankrupt", "directionless", and "betrays the organisational mission".
She asked: "I am here because South Africans, the people, are speaking and I have to listen attentively so that my ANC can be an effective instrument of liberation. Can the ANC be an effective instrument of non-racialism when it is led by a president who has lost legitimacy, credibility, integrity and honorableness?"
"Not only are we divided along racial lines, but because our president, when his citizens peacefully marched to plead with him to step down... he called them racist and patrons of white monopoly capital. This is a president when black intellectuals express their views, he does not agree with them, but labels them as clever blacks."
She pleaded with Zuma to step down, saying he was "haunting the South African nation".
"South Africa no longer needs you. Please save South Africa, save jobs, save the economy, save women, save South Africa from this pain... I cannot say more about how much you have violated the country's Constitution. Uphold the ANC's constitution, uphold the country's Constitution and step aside and let moral and ethical leaders lead this country," Khoza said.
What about the rest of state capture?
Richer, who resigned from Sars for his role in the so-called "rogue unit", opened up about the influences of the tobacco industry on state officials and said state capture is not only about the Guptas.
"What we set out to do within the investigative capabilities of Sars was to increasingly spread the tentacles of our abilities to overcome tax evasion. What we tried to do was to expand and become more effective. We obviously began to step on more and more toes as we became more effective," Richer said.
"A complete fantasy was created around this so-called rogue unit. But in that, when we talk about state capture, first of all, not all public servants are captured. The vast majority are actually trying to do a decent job. We must encourage whistleblowing and support those who whistle blow."
Richer used the tobacco industry as an example of a campaign that has "over decades" made in roads into South Africa's state institutions.
"The Guptas are only a small piece of that picture. We need to deal with state capture in its totality, not just single parts of it."
The SIU 'is a captured entity'
Molefe, who has a target on his back for instituting internal investigations into dodgy dealings within Prasa, discussed ongoing issues of fraud and corruption at the state-owned enterprise.
He said his board members were harassed by MPs for continuing their investigations independently.
"We understood our mandate to be one of acting in the interests of commuters and protecting the tax-payers' money and that is why we held the investigations. Throughout, we were harassed by Members of Parliament asking why don't we leave it to the Special Investigating Unit, which is a captured entity," Molefe said.
"We were told we are spending too much time and too much money and they asked us to stop it and I refused."
Pityana outlined the challenges of combatting state capture and said the "state capture mafia" have "destroyed the very aspects of the state that are supposed to protect our freedoms".
"We are up against a global network of criminals who have turned South Africa into their playgrounds, and their ATMs. We are under no illusions, they have massive resources, all of which is stolen from the state and the poor. These are the people we are confronting," Pityana said.
"To make our tasks even harder...the leadership of the police, who are supposed to protect us, have been captured too. Crime Intelligence has been captured by corrupt elements and, as you are aware, are slowly being transformed into an apartheid-style security police. Even some in the NPA have been captured, leaving us unable to prosecute those committing crimes."
He ended by calling Zuma the "kingpin of the state capture project" and reiterated his calls for the president to step down.