I had the courage to put myself on the line – Vytjie Mentor

2016-10-25 20:32
Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Johannesburg – State capture is the greatest threat to South Africa's constitutional democracy since the end of apartheid, says former ANC member of Parliament Vytjie Mentor.

She filed papers with the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday seeking to intervene in President Jacob Zuma's application to block the release of the state capture report. The matter, which is due to be argued on November 1, was initially set down for October 18 but was postponed along with an application for an urgent interdict by Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des Van Rooyen.

Van Rooyen has since withdrawn his application, citing that previous Public Protector Thuli Madonsela made no adverse findings against him in her investigation on state capture.

"I had the courage of my convictions and put myself on the line by disclosing the fact that I was approached by members of the Gupta family with offers of a Cabinet position in exchange for executive favours," Mentor said in her application which News24 has seen.

The former MP said because she gave evidence willingly she had a direct and substantial interest in the relief being sought by the president.

Giving insight into her thoughts around the matter Mentor explained in her affidavit why she turned to the Public Protector's office.

Fear of intimidation

"I believed that the only organisation that would carry out such an investigation properly is the Public Protector," she said.

Mentor is just one of many senior politicians who have made claims against the Gupta family, known to be close to the president and some of his family members, but she refused to give testimony to the ANC when it opened an investigation into the matter. Mentor did however go to the police, who in turn sent the case she opened to the specialised policing unit the Hawks.

Mentor said she did not believe any investigation or progress had happened since then.

In her papers she also challenged the president's request to interview witnesses who had spoken to the Public Protector, stating that if Zuma's interpretation of the law was correct, then he or his legal representative would cross-examine her on the evidence she gave.

"I believe that they will seek to intimidate me and this would not be in line with a proper interpretation of section 7(9) (ii)."

New Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane filed her papers last week, in them she said she would not oppose the president's application. Meanwhile, opposition parties have also applied to join the matter in opposition to the president's application.

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