#VytjieMentor 'offered ministerial post if she stopped SAA India route'
Politics / 27 August 2018, 4:49pm / Zintle Mahlati
Parktown - Vytjie Mentor says Ajay Gupta offered her a ministerial position if she helped abolish the South African Airways (SAA) route from Johannesburg to India.
She was giving testimony at the state capture inquiry on Monday.
The commission of inquiry into state capture is investigating allegations of corruption largely centred around the infamous Gupta family and former president Jacob Zuma.
It has been alleged that the Gupta family used its relationship with Zuma to score business deals with state-owned enterprises. Billions were allegedly paid out to the family in suspicious business deals involving government officials.
Soft-spoken throughout her testimony, Mentor appeared nervous and gave details about how an assistant for Zuma, Laleka Kaunda, organised the meeting between her and Zuma.
She was told that her meeting arrangements would be done by Atul Gupta.
She said she was picked up from OR Tambo Airport by two Gupta brothers and was taken to the Gupta family's Sahara offices where she met Ajay.
Mentor said she was shocked when she was taken to the Gupta compound in Saxonworld.
The former ANC MP told the inquiry that she was offered the post of minister of public enterprises by Ajay Gupta if she helped stop SAA's route from Mumbai, India, to Johannesburg.
She said Ajay told her that the family had a company, Jet airlines, that would take over the route once the SAA one falls away.
Ajay Gupta had told her that former president Jacob Zuma had plans to reshuffle his Cabinet and that then minister of public enterprises Barbara Hogan would be fired, said Mentor.
"He said that if I agreed to facilitate that then I could become the minister of public enterprises in the near future. That startled me. He said the president was going to reshuffle his Cabinet in the recent future and minister Barbara Hogan was going to be reshuffled and I could become the minister in her place when she is reshuffled if I agree that once I become the minister I would abolish SAA/India route,' she said.
Gupta also enquired about uranium deposits in the Northern Cape where Mentor is from.
Mentor said she declined the offers from Ajay.
The former ANC MP also told the inquiry how she met Duduzane Zuma on a flight to China and he further introduced her to controversial businessman Fana Hlongwane and Rajesh Gupta.
"A certain young man who was not alone knocked at my cubicle and introduced himself as Duduzane. I recognized him from pictures in the media. I recall the other person he introduced he said I was doing a sterling job in Parliament. He said can I introduce you to my chairman and that person was Fana Hlongwane," said Mentor.
Mentor was called to testify on Monday based on her 2016 claim, which she posted on Facebook, that she was offered a job as the minister of public enterprises by one of the Gupta brothers at their compound in Saxonworld. She claimed former president Jacob Zuma was at the Gupta's Saxonworld compound as she was offered the job.
She alleged that Zuma later walked in after she rejected the offer.
The inquiry continues on Tuesday with Mentor's testimony.
Advocate Vincent Maleka, who is part of the commission's legal team, told commission chair deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo that a number of individuals had applied for cross-examination.
Maleka told Zondo that cross-examinations should only be allowed if those who wish to examine the evidence take the stand and supply their own version.
Former president Jacob Zuma's legal representative, the Guptas legal council and Duduzane's legal team had indicated that they wished to cross-examine witnesses.