Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor’s testimony at the commission of inquiry into state capture suffered a blow on Wednesday when a witness told the commission that she did not recall Mentor telling her that she, Mentor, had been offered a ministerial position by one of the Gupta brothers.
Mentor had testified that she had informally told some members of parliament’s joint standing committee on intelligence about her 2010 meeting with the Guptas and former president Jacob Zuma at the controversial family’s residence in Saxonwold, Johannesburg, where she alleged she was offered the post of public enterprises minister to replace Barbara Hogan.
Mentor testified that the Saxonwold meeting took place two weeks after a department of trade and industry (dti) trade mission to China which occurred between August 22, 2010, to August 26, 2010 and that, although not immediately after the Saxonwold meeting, she made the informal disclosure to some of the members of the committee.
These committee members, Mentor had said, were the committee’s chair at the time, Dr Siyabonga Cwele, Dennis Bloem, and Hlengiwe Mgabadeli.
Mentor added that in 2010, she did discuss the Saxonwold meeting with Bloem and is certain that she had “disclosed it” with Mgabadeli but “whether she will recall [or not, I cannot confirm]”.
Mgabadeli confirmed to the commission that she joined parliament in 2004 until 2014, serving in a number of portfolio committees, including the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence where she served alongside Mentor.
Mgabadeli told the commission she knew Mentor personally and that they both had sat in the ANC caucus.
“We used to discuss a lot with Miss Mentor … we are very close,” Mgabadeli said.
Mgabadeli, however, said she only learned of all the allegations Mentor had made when the former ANC MP, Mentor, appeared before the commission.
“I have no reason why I would not recall her telling me [this],” Mgabadeli said.
She reiterated that she learned about all the allegations Mentor had made by watching the commission on television.
“I have nothing against Miss Mentor … but I just don’t recall her telling me that,” Mgabadeli said.
Mgabadeli said since she has never sat in the governing African National Congress national executive committee, she was not privy to discussions that have been held at that level, where the allegations Mentor had made may have been discussed.
“I learned very late that there’s a surname called Gupta. I stay in Durban and there are many Indians in Durban but I have never come across the surname Gupta,” Mgabadeli said, adding that she thought it was an acronym for a project of some sought.
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