Testifying on the fourth day of the commission of inquiry into state capture chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Ray Zondo, Vytjie Mentor has spoken about being “concerned for her safety” when she was called to meet with then president Jacob Zuma while on a trip to China.
“I cannot go and hand myself to a man that’s got a reputation with women, on a silver platter, driven by strange people…” Mentor testified to thinking at the time.
She testified that a Gupta brother – she is not entirely sure which one – called her at her hotel and said that Zuma had asked her to meet him at the Chinese state guest house before he left for a banquet.
She says she refused to go, after which the Gupta brother phoned Zuma before calling her back, saying the president had “insisted” she should go. She said she then refused again before putting the phone down, and leaving it off the hook so she could not be called again.
Mentor said she eventually did meet with Zuma back in South Africa, but said she was not clear on the exact date.
Her reluctance to meet the president is not surprising considering that Mentor claimed in her book No Holy Cows that Zuma had sexually harassed her while he was still deputy president.
She reportedly claims the incident occurred when she was still the chairperson of the ANC parliamentary caucus in the early 2000s.
In an extract from the book, she claims that during an encounter in Zuma’s office he sat uncomfortably close to her and then “shoved his hand in between my thighs”.
She claimed her “big inner thighs” were all that stood between her and his hand reaching her pubic area.
Mentor apparently then “slapped him across his ugly face with my handbag” and stormed out.
She also detailed her alleged knowledge and experience of further alleged sexual misconduct on Zuma’s part, which she claimed went as far back as 1990.
As a result of this, she claims that when Fezikile Kuzwayo’s rape claims emerged against Zuma, “I knew that Khwezi could not have lied … and I automatically supported her and believed her even though I had never met her.”