Former president FW de Klerk said on Wednesday he would have fired Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga if he had found wrongdoing on her part in the Limpopo textbook saga.
"If I was president, I would have asked the minister of education to fully investigate and brief me," he told reporters in Johannesburg.
"And if I had come to a conclusion that the minister of education... failed in a material way, yes, I would have fired her."
De Klerk said the failure to deliver textbooks was purely a management issue.
"The textbooks were printed... but not delivered. That is tremendously bad management."
De Klerk was speaking at a press briefing after a conference hosted by his foundation on Wednesday. The conference discussed the outcomes of the ANC's policy conference.
De Klerk said the spirit of inclusiveness and reconciliation embodied by former president Nelson Mandela was no longer prevalent in the country. He warned against the ruling party's national democratic revolution.
"The NDR as a concept is dangerous. A revolution against who? Who is the enemy?"
He said the ANC wanted to lead the country using policies which had failed elsewhere in the world.
Earlier, Irina Filatova, former head of African studies at Moscow State University, echoed De Klerk's view on the NDR.
"The ANC cannot implement this policy. But there will be one aspect it can do, and it can destroy this country. There could be partial land reform, partial nationalisation of mines."
Filatova said the ANC "obviously believes in this ideology" as it spoke of the unique nature of its developmental state.
"I think that the ANC is a bit lost about the second stage of the revolution. In the 1980s it was so obvious what would happen."
She said the more the economy failed, the deeper the ANC was going to dig in its heels.
"The more failure[s] there are, the more they will try to use various means, both constitutional and unconstitutional, to keep their following," Filatova said.
Leon Louw, executive director of the Free Market Foundation, warned that recent laws passed by the government made the South African economy less free.
Growth had been restricted by the National Credit Act, Consumer Protection Act, and exchange controls.
Louw said the country had changed the economic path it embarked on in 1994.
"Things changed after 2006 and the economy started becoming less free again. If your economy becomes more free you will grow, and if it becomes less free, you will stagnate and contract."
The economy was stagnating because of the government's interference in the labour market, making it expensive and difficult to employ people.
In his concluding remarks, De Klerk urged South Africans to be active and engage the ruling party on its policies, because they would shape the country's future.