Johannesburg - Eleven months since the state capture commission held its first sitting, former ANC MP, Vytjie Mentor still stands out as an unreliable witness whose testimony has been proven as pure fabrication by those she accused and the commission's own internal investigators.
Further blowing the credibility of Mentor last week was when former president, Jacob Zuma, a key figure in the allegations made by the former ANC MP and a key figure in many of the allegations on state capture, denied all claims she made, from meeting him at Gupta family house to meeting him in China.
This has left her exposed to perjury charges (the offence of willfully telling a lie or making a misrepresentation under oath) should the chairperson of the commission, Deputy Chief Justice, Judge Raymond Zondo rules that in way.
We look at the five times she was exposed as an untrustworthy witness whose testimony will come under intense scrutiny before it can be considered in the commission's final report.
Her description of the Gupta house did not gel with investigators findings
Appearing before the commission in August last year, Mentor claimed to have met with the Gupta brothers in their house and was served curry. However, afterwards an inspection in loco by the commission’s investigators found that her description of the house where they met did not corroborate with the facts. In an attempt to save face, she then requested building experts to forensically test various sections of the Gupta compound in an attempt to align her evidence.
The Fana Hlongwane and Brian Hlongwa meeting that never existed
Further discrediting herself, Mentor claimed to the commission that she was introduced to businessman, Fana Hlongwane, by Duduzane Zuma during a 2010 trip to China aboard an Emirates airline. She claimed that Duduzane introduced Hlongwane as “chairman”. However, she later claimed that she was confusing Hlongwane with Gauteng ANC politician, Brian Hlongwa and apologised to Hlongwane who wanted to cross examine in order to expose her lies. Duduzane also denied the claim by the former MP.
The meeting with the Zumas and Guptas in China that never happened
Appearing before the commission in August last year, a stuttering Mentor alleged that she met Duduzane Zuma and Atul Gupta. However, an investigation by the commission’s own investigators showed that she was not telling the truth as the Gupta brother was in the country. Guptas presence in the country was supported by immigration officials who showed that all his three passports shows he was in the country. Even global airliner Emirates said they had no records of Gupta in their plane. To save face, she inferred that the records may have been tampered with and Gupta may have sneaked out of the country undetected by immigration officials and airline officials.
The imaginary ministerial job offer discussion with Jessie Duarte
Being an eventful August in 2018, Mentor also claimed that she discussed the ministerial job offer from the Guptas with Jessie Duarte, describing her as the ANC’s deputy secretary general (DSG) in 2010. That blew her testimony as well because Duarte only became the DSG in 2012 when she was elected in Mangaung to take over a position that was left by Thandi Modise. Duarte vehemently denied that, saying she only talked to her about a leg injury Mentor reportedly sustained inside the parliamentary precinct.
The Cape Town to Johannesburg trip that never happened
Even when put to her that parliamentary travel records for MPs shows that she travelled to Johannesburg on October 15, 2010, which fell on Friday, Mentor insisted that she travelled on October 18, 201, which was a Monday. Even before Zuma’s denial of the meeting she claimed she travelled for, SAA records have already discredited her. She later implied, like she did with calls records of Lakela Kaunda whom she falsely claimed had arranged the meeting, were not trustworthy.
Zondo is yet to make an official ruling on all her claims and the whole testimony. But the court of public opinion has already discredited her.