5 things you might not remember about Vytjie Mentor

2016-03-16 16:57
A screengrab from the ANC's website showing its chairpersons since 1994. Mentor served from 2004-2008. (ANC website)

A screengrab from the ANC's website showing its chairpersons since 1994. Mentor served from 2004-2008. (ANC website)

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Johannesburg - Former ANC MP and parliamentary caucus chairperson Vytjie Mentor shot into the limelight this week after she claimed that the politically-connected Gupta family had offered her a Cabinet position a few years ago.

The allegation was made on Facebook on Monday night in response to Democratic Alliance member Johann Abrie's post about the Guptas alleged offering deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas the top job before Nhlanhla Nene was removed.

She wrote: "But they had previously asked me to become Minister of Public Enterprises when Barbara Hogan got the chop, provided that I would drop the SAA flight-route to India and give it to them.

"I refused and so I was never made a Minister. The President was in another room when they offered me this in Saxonworld. [sic]"

Despite her allegation, President Jacob Zuma has claimed that he had "no recollection of Ms Mentor and is not aware of the alleged incidents in her career".

Here are five things you should know about Mentor's career:

1) Mentor was the parliamentary caucus chairperson during Thabo Mbeki's presidency from 2004 to 2008

This was at a time when Zuma was deputy president and leader of government business in Parliament.

Mentor was in her position of ANC parliamentary caucus chairperson for a year when in 2005, Mbeki removed Zuma as deputy president of the country. Recently Mbeki has denied this, saying Zuma stepped down.

Zuma then resigned from Parliament in June 2005 .

In 2007, as caucus chairperson, Mentor reportedly dismissed what she called "malicious" news reports that Mbeki had used a caucus meeting to launch a veiled attack on Zuma.

Zuma was elected ANC president at the December 2007 Polokwane conference, unseating Mbeki.

2) In 2008 Mentor was replaced as ANC parliamentary caucus chairperson

In January 2008, following a party caucus meeting in Parliament, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe announced that Mentor was being replaced by ANC MP Ncumisa Nkondlo.

Chief Whip Isaac Mogase was also removed and replaced with Nathi Mthethwa.

At the time Mantashe reportedly said the changes were made to ensure there was synergy between the ANC's parliamentary leadership and national leadership.

3) In 2009 Mentor was appointed as an MP and chairperson of the public enterprises portfolio committee

In 2009, Mentor found herself on the list of ANC MPs.

Her name was then put on the ANC's list of chairpersons and put forward for the portfolio committee voting process in the National Assembly. She was appointed public enterprise portfolio committee chairperson in May 2009.

4) In 2010 Mentor reportedly joined Zuma's entourage on a trip to China, at Transnet's expense

The Sowetan newspaper in December 2010 reported that Mentor, then public enterprises portfolio committee chairperson, was said to have joined Zuma on a state visit to China.

The report details how the then Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba revealed through parliamentary questions that the ANC was investigating Mentor after she received payment of R155 000 from Transnet for her trip to China including a first class air ticket.

According to PoliticsLive Mentor was fired as chairperson of the committee after the Sunday Times reported that she had asked for sponsorship to make the trip without going through the usual parliamentary channels.

She reportedly said at the time that she had been to China several times and would still go there on work-related matters.  She said she went to China as part of the business delegation by virtue of being the chairman of public enterprises committee.

However the Department of Trade and Industry said at the time that they invited only business people and associations to accompany Zuma on state visits. Zizi Kodwa, then presidential spokesman, said Mentor had not been invited.

The presidency on Tuesday night denied what the it claims were misleading media reports that Mentor accompanied him on a state visit to China.

"By stating that Ms Mentor 'accompanied' President Zuma on a state visit to China, the media gives the public an incorrect impression of a status similar to that of ministers or deputy ministers who receive direct formal invitations from the president to accompany him on state visits, and who then join him on all official engagements during the visit as members of the official delegation," spokesperson Bongani Majola said in a statement.

"The presidency reiterates that the President has no recollection of Ms Mentor and is not aware of the alleged incidents in her career that she has reportedly written about on social media."

5) In 2012 Mentor found herself in trouble for being absent from Parliament

Sunday World at the time reported that the ANC caucus had discussed a draft policy which could have seen MPs either losing their seats or having as much as R7500 docked from their salaries if they were absent from Parilament for longer than 15 days without leave.

Mentor, along with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and former communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda were reportedly in trouble for hardly being present in Parliament.

Read more on:    vytjie mentor  |  gupta family  |  politics

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