And there goes the last of Vytjie Mentor’s credibility

Among the world's most difficult conspiracies to believe are ones about the weather. That hasn't seemed to stop the Facebook Avenger from peddling one.

Just when we thought the Facebook wackiness of former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor had calmed down, she made it clear this week she has firmly entered the realm of crackpot conspiracy theorists.

It’s not personal – even if my best friend were to come to me with a weather-control conspiracy I would laugh in his face and tell him to ease up on the dagga.

Mentor declared on Tuesday that she is “very convinced” the drought in the Western Cape is “man-made” and “deliberately engineered”.



The Facebook responses to this surprising revelation told us a fair bit about some of those who follow Mentor and who still want to believe in her, despite the mounting evidence that she has really, really lost the plot.

Many immediately appeared to “get” what Mentor meant and launched into numerous theories of their own about how “man” can create droughts, while others hoped she was just joking.

Fortunately, there were also those who haven’t entirely given leave of their senses, and they told Mentor in not so many words that the crashing sound of a door slamming was the last of her credibility leaving the building.

Of course, you could argue – even on a scientific level – that Mentor may have a point. If you accept the evidence for climate change due to the effect of greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution, then it probably wouldn’t be all that hard to be “very convinced” that the Western Cape drought is “man-made”. Many of the droughts and floods currently hitting the world may even conform to this definition of “man-made”.

But does anyone really think that’s what Mentor meant, even if you ignore the “deliberately engineered” part? will we now have reason to believe she’s going to appear on the next Al Gore documentary discussing the dangers of methane trapped in the Asian permafrost and how this could be threatening this year’s wine harvest?

Obviously not.

It’s difficult to speculate, but Mentor is so obsessed with the evil nature of the ANC under President Jacob Zuma that she probably believes the Western Cape drought was somehow cooked up around the fire pool at Nkandla – perhaps as a way of punishing all those voters who dared to choose the DA.

I know that Zuma has a lot to answer for – including apparently trying to touch Mentor in an unwelcome fashion – and I know the Gupta family has interests in everything from computers to coal, but I doubt even they can control the weather.

Sure, she didn’t say they can, but the air of conspiracy around her message left me thinking that whatever may be about to be revealed in the pink-and-white Facebook “space” we’re now meant to be “watching” cannot be anything short of ridiculous.

As much as human beings are pretty clever – I mean, we created iPhones, people – it’s not yet possible to control the weather or “deliberately engineer” climate on a mass scale. Many promising ideas on how to reverse climate change have been put forward, but none has been tested or implemented.

Nevertheless, conspiracies about micro-managed weather (perhaps by the Illuminati) have abounded for decades and often involve theories about planes, drones or maybe even UFOs flying around doing things to clouds (or whatever). Maybe there are underground facilities using powerful magnetism or radiation. How about gigantic fans installed somewhere offshore to keep blowing away all that cumulonimbus the ungrateful Stellenbosch voters don’t deserve?

Sure. Why not? When you’re a conspiracy theorist, pretty much anything goes – as long as it fits in with whatever you happen to want to believe. I’ve known many a conspiracy theorist in my time and they are often damaged and somewhat vulnerable people whose apparent narcissism merely shields a deeper lack of self-worth.

Mentor’s post sadly tells us far less about what’s going on with the weather in Cape Town and far more about the storms raging in her own mind, driven by the constant need she feels for affirmation and attention. It seems she will say just about anything now to get that attention.

What’s next? That Zuma and the Guptas are actually extraterrestrial lizard people who regularly climb into volcanoes where they keep teleporters for travelling back and forth to their headquarters in the centre of Mars?

Charles Cilliers, digital editor

Charles Cilliers, digital editor


Read more on these topics

Columns Vytjie Mentor

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits