Makhura was among prominent speakers at the inaugural Inclusive Growth conference organised by the Kgalema Motlanthe Foundation in the Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal.
Among key issues discussed were state capture, the land issue, the state of governance and the economy.
Makhura yesterday praised civil society organisations that mobilised against state capture and pressured the ANC to take steps against allegations of looting of state coffers, which were centred on former president Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family.
“If there is something that has taught us something from the period we have evolved from, I can tell you asa leader of the ANC that if it wasn’t for civil society mobilisation and activism, we would have not emerged from the nightmare we are just emerging from.
“Sometimes we give too much credence and we invest too much in thinking that the political parties will solve the problems,” Makhura said.
Makhura also praised civil society for pressuring the provincial administration to address its own problems, including the Life Esidimeni tragedy.
“If we don’t shift from demonising civil society some of the problems we have had, including Life Esidimeni, if the attitude of government was different in how it saw civil society, we would not have got where we are,” he said.
Following an alternative dispute resolution and arbitration process set up by the government, retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke ordered the government to pay R1.2 million to the family of each Life Esidimeni victim.
Makhura also said South Africans were justified to doubt the new dawn pronounced by President Cyril Ramaphosa, as the country had been plunged into a major crisis under Zuma’s tenure.
“We have gone through that of which perhaps we still have to understand the full implications.
Makhura said the country was not out of the woods yet, adding that ethics, integrity and clean governance should be at the centre of the public service and business to avoid a return to what he called a disastrous past.
“Anyone who thinks what we have gone through in that realm of governance is insignificant and small was not here in this country.”