OVERVIEW: Those who want to cross-examine must 'put up their version' - Zondo at #StateCaptureInquiry

2018-08-27 15:30

Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor has been excused while testifying at the commission of inquiry into state capture, to allow the legal team to present applications from implicated parties. Mentor will return.

For the latest updates, follow News24 reporters: 

 - Jeanette Chabalala: @J_chabalala 

 - Mahlatse Mahlase: @hlatseentle

WATCH LIVE: #StateCaptureInquiry Day 4 | Vytjie Mentor testifies 

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Last Updated at 01:07
27 Aug 15:50

After some discussion between Zondo and Maleka about the merits of allowing applications for cross-examination of witnesses, Zondo calls for the commission of inquiry to be adjourned for the day. 

Hearings will resume at 09:30 on Tuesday morning, to allow for further legal argument and to deal with applications.

Mentor will continue with her evidence thereafter.


27 Aug 15:35

27 Aug 15:35

The legal team states they want a condition that if those implicated want to cross-examine the witness who implicated them, then they must also be willing to be cross-examined. So if Zuma, Kaunda, Duduzane, or the Guptas want to cross-examine, they also need to come forward. 

Zondo: "They need to put up their version... We must know what their version is." 


27 Aug 15:31

Zondo says when an application to cross-examine is submitted, the implicated person should already have furnished the legal team of the commission of inquiry with a statement, stating which part of the evidence is being disputed, along with their version.


27 Aug 15:27

Among the applications, is one from the legal team of Lakela Kaunda, for leave to cross-examine Mentor after she implicated Kaunda, saying she called her in 2010 to arrange the meeting with Zuma that eventually took place at the Gupta compound.


27 Aug 15:15

27 Aug 15:14

Mentor is now excused from proceedings, to allow the legal team to present applications to the commission.

Advocate Pretorius starts off, but makes way for Advocate Maleka to proceed.


27 Aug 15:12

27 Aug 15:12

Mentor says she would like to clarify another part of her statement. 


27 Aug 15:10

Sello interjects and tells Zondo that they will not finish with leading evidence from Mentor today, says they will require another half day tomorrow.


27 Aug 15:09

Mentor says she told Ajay Gupta that if that route was cancelled, it would raise a number of issues, and she was assured that there was an airline they were working with that would take over the route. 

Mentor reads the airline name onto record: "Then he said that they are in partnership with an airline, Jet Airways, that would see to the transportation of human beings and cargo..." on the route. 

Zondo asks Mentor to confirm that it was Jet Airways. "Yes, chairperson," Mentor responds. 


27 Aug 15:04

27 Aug 15:03

27 Aug 15:03

Mentor says she remembers being taken aback that Ajay Gupta knew about an imminent Cabinet reshuffle, when there was nothing in the media about it.


27 Aug 14:59

27 Aug 14:58

Mentor finally on the point, that she had also mentioned in the public protector's report, where the Guptas offered her a ministerial position if she agreed to and facilitated the cancellation of the SAA route to Mumbai. 

Mentor confirms she was offered the position of "Minister of Public Enterprises" if she abolished the SAA route to India.


27 Aug 14:54

Mentor says "Ajay" entered the room and they spoke about her being from the Northern Cape, and how she could be "useful" to them. 

Mentor says the conversation soon turned to South African Airways, and Mentor mentions how Ajay told her that the "turnaround strategy" at SAA wasn't working.

Mentor then mentions the discussions about the Johannesburg to Mumbai (India) route.


27 Aug 14:51

27 Aug 14:51

27 Aug 14:50

27 Aug 14:50

During her recollection of her visit at the Saxonwold compound, Mentor says the chef was brought out to her and knelt before her, but she told the chef to stand up because she felt the person shouldn't kneel. Mentor then says she ordered the mutton curry and chai tea. She was also shown to the restrooms which she describes as "quite beautiful".


27 Aug 14:46

Mentor says she was offered something to eat and drink, and she was told there is a private chef she could tell what she wanted. She now proceeds to further explain the interior of the residence in detail. 


27 Aug 14:44

27 Aug 14:44

Mentor: "The man that I know as Rajesh then disappears somewhere into the house, and Atul stays with me. He tells me now, whilst we are in the house, that the president will come and... before the president, the brother, that we met at Sahara, would come and meet me there. That was a bit odd for me, now I figured out what he meant when he said 'We will meet again'...


27 Aug 14:40

Mentor says she didn't have to sign in at the gate, and once they passed the guards, she saw a few houses, but they stopped at the biggest one, which Mentor describes as "gigantic", and said it is this "mansion" which they entered.

She was assisted up the marble stairs, because she was on crutches. 

Mentor says she was made to wait in the "lounge" or "reception area" of the mansion. Mentor proceeds to describe in detail the interior of the residence, as she witnessed it.


27 Aug 14:36

Mentor says she did not know exactly whose residence they were at, and what the address was, but she later came to learn that it was in Saxonwold. 

She says she suspected it was just another government residence, of which there are a few. 

Sello asks if she knew exactly where she was, and Mentor says she determined she was somewhere between Johannesburg and Pretoria. 



27 Aug 14:31

27 Aug 14:30

27 Aug 14:27

Zondo asks Mentor for clarity on how the Gupta brothers knew about the agenda of her scheduled meeting with Zuma. 

Mentor: "He inferred, and I deduced that he knew about the agenda." 

Mentor says this was all en route to the venue to meet with Zuma, or as she calls it, "the holding place", which turned out to be a residential place. 


27 Aug 14:26

27 Aug 14:25

27 Aug 14:18

27 Aug 14:18

27 Aug 14:17

Mentor recollects at length a conversation she had with the gentleman she was introduced to, about her children, and cricket. Mentor mentions the Guptas' interests in Western Province Cricket. 


27 Aug 14:15

Mentor says Atul walked with her into another office where there was an "Indian looking" man seated behind a desk. Mentor says she didn't rise to greet her. The man then introduced himself as the older brother of the two who drove her to Sahara, according to Mentor.


27 Aug 14:11

Mentor says when she asked why they had stopped outside the Sahara building, she was told that someone, their "elder brother", wanted to see her. 

Mentor says she was then told by Atul that the person she was there to meet was on the phone. Mentor describes how anxious she felt at the time, because she just wanted to get to her meeting with Zuma. 


27 Aug 14:07

Proceedings resume following the lunch adjournment. Mentor continues with her story about the meeting that followed after she was picked up from the airport by the Guptas. 


27 Aug 13:02

27 Aug 13:01

Zondo requests the lunch adjournment. Proceedings will resume at 14:00. 



27 Aug 13:00

Mentor says she was driven to a building with an open parking lot, and the vehicle parked outside a building with the name "Sahara" written on it. 

There is now an issue with one of the photographs Mentor had submitted along with her statement. Apparently, the photograph was not taken by Mentor herself, and she says she believes she got it from the media. 

Zondo asks for further clarity on this photograph.


27 Aug 12:55

Back to Mentor's arrival in Johannesburg, she says she was greeted by two men holding a placard with her name on it. 


27 Aug 12:54

With reference to Mentor's flight to Johannesburg from Cape Town on what she recalls as an SAA flight, there was some discussion between Zondo and Sello about Mentor possibly getting that recollection wrong, as there was no record from SAA to corroborate Mentor's statement. 

The commission is enquiring with other airlines and has requested their records. 



27 Aug 12:48

27 Aug 12:46

27 Aug 12:45

27 Aug 12:45

Mentor says Kaunda told her that Atul would be contacting her shortly after their call to make arrangements, and Mentor says he did.

Mentor says she was told not to worry, everything would be sorted out once she landed at OR Tambo Airport. Mentor recalls she flew via SAA.


27 Aug 12:42

Mentor says she was in Cape Town and she knew the meeting would take place in Gauteng. Recalls she was on crutches at the time, and was worried about the travel logistics.


27 Aug 12:39

Sello establishes that these events all transpired in 2010, Mentor says it happened about "two weeks" after the China trip, so sometime in September, Mentor confirms.


27 Aug 12:37

Zondo now asking for clarity on how it eventually happened that Mentor and Zuma met with each other. Mentor starts off by saying she was contacted by Zuma's presidential aide, Lakela Kaunda. 

Zondo asks for specific dates, but Mentor says she is not too clear on the exact date. Says it was definitely after the China trip.


27 Aug 12:31

Mentor says she had been trying to meet with Zuma to discuss an energy research project.

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