Memorable Mac Maharaj quotes

2015-04-07 16:27
Mac Maharaj (File: Sapa)

Mac Maharaj (File: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj, who turns 80 this month, has announced he will be retiring.

Here are a few memorable quotes from his tenure as President Jacob Zuma's spin doctor since 2011:

- "In my life I have never been given a choice. I don’t think I’ve ever been ready for anything. This is a job no amount of academic training can prepare you for."- Maharaj, quoted by the Mail & Guardian after being appointed Zuma's spokesperson in 2011.

- “How many times has JZ surprised you? This points to a disjuncture between your analysis and his thinking. It should tell us that you are not quite connecting the dots.” - Maharaj to the Mail & Guardian after his "surprise" appointment as Zuma's spokesperson in July 2011.

- “I hope there is a relationship of trust between us, trust that I will do my best to portray his position with integrity. Even if I have had to speak on a position without having connected with him first, that he would say: ‘Mac did his best to understand me.’ This is a slightly different meaning of trust from the one that goes with the definition of a loyalist.” - Maharaj to the Mail & Guardian after his appointment as Zuma's spokesperson in July 2011.

- “The continuing statements by political parties that President Jacob Zuma has avoided going to Parliament are incorrect, and are creating a wrong impression. The president has fulfilled his parliamentary responsibilities since his election as president in May 2014 to lead the fifth administration." - Maharaj on the president being criticised for not answering questions in Parliament.

- "I think it is wild speculation by people who are paranoid." - Maharaj on spy tape claims that he co-ordinated Zuma’s victory at the 2007 ANC conference in Polokwane.

- “The president regards all the investigations and reports into the upgrades as important. He has responded to the National Assembly taking all the reports into account.” - Maharaj on reports around multi-million rand security upgrades to the president's home in Nkandla.

- "She's called the president's house a 'compound', a word used for hostels and migrant workers. She'd never use that for a white person's home." - Maharaj on DA leader Helen Zille calling the president's Nkandla home a compound.

- "The president has nothing to do with any of the allegations levelled against the staff members of SARS and linking him to this matter is pure mischief." - Maharaj on reports linking key departures at the SA Revenue Services to Zuma.

- "President Zuma was emphasising the need for teenagers to focus on their studies and said children should not be raising children."  - Maharaj defends Zuma after comments the president made on teenage pregnancies which included the suggestion that they be taken to Robben Island.

- "The Presidency has noted reports in certain media, suggesting that President Jacob Zuma insinuated that Africans were backward and that they should stop thinking like Africans in Africa and accept that Gauteng roads were not like some national road in Malawi or Pietermaritzburg or Rustenburg',"- Maharaj  defends comments Zuma made while discussing e-tolling plans for Gauteng. "The words have regrettably been taken out of context and blown completely out of proportion."

- "The new appointees have been informed and can be contacted for further confirmation." - Maharaj surprises everyone with an April Fools' joke this year on Cabinet reshuffles.

Some media took it seriously, but it emerged that he was joking when he announced that former minister in the presidency, Essop Pahad, had been appointed as the new minister in the Presidency responsible for public participation and interface; former minister of defence, Charles Nqakula, was appointed as minister of roads and traffic affairs; and ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa was appointed deputy minister for social cohesion and nation-building.

Read more on:    mac maharaj  |  jacob zuma  |  media
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