#StateCaptureInquiry: Kaunda, Mtolo's lawyers to cross-examine Vytjie Mentor
Mentor was one of the first witnesses to take the stand at the commission, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, where she accused the Guptas of offering her a ministerial job in exchange for her using the position to advance their business interests.
On Tuesday, lawyers of former president Jacob Zuma’s aide, Lakela Kaunda, and Hawks official Mandla Mtolo are set to cross-examine Mentor after she implicated them in her testimony.
Mentor alleged Kaunda was the one who called her to come to Johannesburg to meet Zuma prior to the Gupta ministerial offer, while she accused Mtolo of telling her to remove Zuma’s name from the criminal case she lodged in 2016 if she wanted it to be investigated.
Both Kaunda and Mtolo have denied the allegations.
On Monday, Mentor’s testimony came into question, after flight records linked to her allegations did not match her allegations before the commission.
She had previously told the commission that she had met Atul Gupta while on a government visit to China in August 2010, but records obtained from the Home Affairs Department disproved claims that he had travelled to China during the period.
Mentor, however, insisted that Atul Gupta possessed a number of passports.
Advocate Mahlape Sello, of the commission’s legal team, said investigators had obtained records of all the people who were alleged by Mentor to have flown to China during the period.
“We have prepared what we call a confidential bundle, which includes the full records, which was to be submitted when we dealt with Ms Mentor’s query as to whether or not we tracked Mr Atul Gupta’s movements through one passport.
“For the purposes of that August travel, only the Department of Home Affairs can tell us whether he did leave or enter the country on any particular day or month, or what passport he used. In 2010 he travelled in May, he travelled in October and he travelled in December, so he could not have been, according to Home Affairs, in China during August if he left the country legally,” Sello said.
Mentor, however, defended the credibility of her testimony, pointing out that the Guptas were able to move in and out the country without clearing customs, citing the controversial landing of the family at Waterkloof Air Base for a wedding in 2013 as an example.
“We do know from experience that people do, in relation to the Guptas particularly, have the ability to move in and out of the country without clearing customs,” Mentor said.
Mentor’s allegation that she flew with SAA from Cape Town to Johannesburg to meet Zuma also came under scrutiny after records obtained from SAA did not match the dates she submitted as part of her evidence.
Mentor alleged that during the visit to see Zuma, the Guptas - at their residence in Saxonwold - offered her the post of minister of public enterprises.
Justice Zondo reminded Mentor that her testimony on the travel concerned was an important part of her evidence to the commission.
Mentor conceded that SAA records did not support her allegations, but insisted that her evidence was correct and that SAA records were inaccurate.
“I have also compared SAA records with the SAA records from Parliament’s travel agency, and there were missing links I maintain that on that morning when I was still on my crutches, I checked in with SAA The records do not correspond. They are not a true reflection of my travels,” Mentor said.