Mentor’s state capture claims need more probing, says Zondo

2018-11-15 14:49

Former ANC member of Parliament Vytjie Mentor won’t be appearing before the commission of inquiry into state capture on Friday.

She will appear on November 30, after an application for her appearance to be postponed was granted on Thursday.

Former minister of finance Nhlanhla Nene will also be appearing later, on a date still to be set.

The commission’s lawyer, Mahlape Sello, said that it would only be fair in order to allow the commission to continue with the investigation into her previous testimony before asking her to appear for cross-examination.

“We have about three critical investigations that are incomplete, the results of which are very important,” Sello said.

The chair of the commission, deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, agreed with Sello.

“I think it is important to ensure that issues that arise from her evidence are properly investigated, because if her evidence is ultimately found to be true by this commission, it could have very serious implications for implicated persons,” Zondo said.

Mentor testified before the inquiry in August. She said that she had been offered the ministerial position of public enterprises at the Guptas’ Saxonwold home, and that her introduction to Rajesh Gupta, one of the Gupta brothers, was done through Duduzane Zuma on board a flight to China in 2010.

Read: Vytjie Mentor, the China trip and the Guptas’ plans for SAA

The ministerial offer was in exchange for abolishing the lucrative South African Airways Mumbai route when Mentor held the position of chair of the portfolio committee on public enterprises. Former Public Enterprises minister Barbara Hogan also shed light on this issue when she appeared at the commission.

Hogan, who gave explosive evidence this week into how she was under pressure from then president Jacob Zuma to appoint Siyabonga Gama as the Transnet chief executive, said that, in 2010 – the same year that Mentor was offered the ministerial position – she was informed on a trip to India that the SAA-Mumbai route would be scrapped.

Read: Zuma insisted on Gama’s appointment as Transnet boss – Hogan

Mentor’s claims, which the commission is investigating, could set into motion investigations into the conspicuous meetings between the Guptas and various ministers during the time that Jacob Zuma was president.

Advocate Adila Hassim, who also represented families of the victims during the Life Esidimeni hearings, appeared at the commission on behalf of Nene. She told Zondo that Nene had injured his left ankle and required time to heal.

“He has been required by his doctor to limit his movement, as he states in his affidavit,” she said.

According to the medical certificate issued by his physician, Nene would only be allowed to resume duty on January 1 next year.

Hassim told the commission that Nene was willing to corporate with the commission’s investigations once he has recovered.

The commission resumes on Monday, when Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan is testifying.

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September 15 2019