Faith Daniels

Vytjie Mentor, do I know you?

2016-03-16 14:25

Faith Daniels

Let’s face it, man. We’ve all been there. That irritating person from your past that you just want to erase from your memory. The person who dented your ego or merely just said something you most definitely did not agree with… or just offended you in the worst way. And here you are facing the question: "So do you know so-and-so?" The gut response (lie) is: "No." Or even worse – "not really." You may even go as far as asking: "Remind me again who that person is?"

Sound familiar?

Well, it should. 'Cause it's kind of where President Jacob Zuma finds himself this week with his "I don’t know who Vytjie Mentor is" approach. Mentor – a former ANC MP and public enterprises committee chair – has claimed on Facebook  that the Guptas, Zuma's friends, had offered her the Public Enterprises ministerial position provided she hand them the SAA flight route to India. Mentor further alleges she refused this offer and was therefore never made a minister. She claims the entire conversation happened in Saxonwold – with Zuma in another room.

In reaction to this, the presidency released a statement in which it said that "President Jacob Zuma has no recollection of Ms Mentor. He is therefore unable to comment on any alleged incident in her career."

Mentor has now returned from an overseas trip and stated on Facebook that she will respond within 48 hours.  Which brings us to the current scenario... waiting.

And, while we wait, I hope the presidency is hard at work thinking up ways to work around its statement which claimed not to know Mentor. For, no matter how you view this situation, it's just inconceivable that it can be true – that the president doesn't know a senior party member and former MP.

Not only is it unfathomable that the statement is true – I doubt that there's a journalist around who doesn't know who Vytjie Mentor is. Purely because of how outspoken she is. My first encounter with Vytjie Mentor was several years ago as a producer of a talk show where current affairs were discussed.

She called in on a regular basis and added her two cents' worth – on matters of policy, the weather, anything – Vytjie Mentor can talk... for long, and she regularly waited in line to say her say. And if you've ever seen her in action in parliament – the same applied. This is not a woman whom you can ignore – a woman who hides in the shadows while others discuss important matters. You will notice Vytjie Mentor.

The truth will eventually surface, and I'm betting Mentor will honour her word and speak in two days' time. Whichever way this plays out, President Jacob Zuma, I kind of understand. At times it's just easier to deny ever knowing some people. It makes us feel better about indiscretions we'd rather forget – for a while, at least.

- Faith Daniels is a seasoned radio and TV journalist, and is currently head of news at Kagiso Media’s Jacaranda FM and East Coast Radio.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

Read more on:    vytjie mentor  |  jacob zuma


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