Vytjie Mentor, the China trip and the plans of the Guptas for SAA

The long-awaited testimony of former parliamentarian Vytjie Mentor about the investigation of state imprisonment did not bring any shock to light, but it gave more light on the influence of the controversial brothers Gupta and their power over the wealth of the state.

She confirmed to the investigation how she was given a ministerial position by the Guptas, provided she adjusted the routes that were carried out by the state airline.

Testing for Vice President Raymond Zondo, Mentor described how, despite many questions from an audience at Jacob Zuma about the nuclear reactor project with silica bed, she suddenly met him during a state visit to China in 2010.

The meeting was set up by a brother of Gupta, she said.

Because she felt uncomfortable, she refused to meet Zuma in China, but a few weeks later she got a new chance, when the Guptas facilitated the infamous meeting in Saxonwold, which was described in the State of Capture report of the former public protector Thuli Madonsela.

It was there, says Mentor, that they offered her the position of minister of public companies when she interfered with the routes of South African Airways.

Mentor, at that time chairman of the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, left Transime for China, a first-class Emirates ticket via Dubai.

She said on board the flight, Duduzane Zuma introduced her to Rajesh Gupta, businessman Fana Hlongwane and another "unknown man of Indian descent".

Mentor said that Rajesh told her during the introduction that one of his brothers was already in China, as part of the team in charge of logistics.

Mentor said while she was in a hotel room, called one of the Gupta brothers and insisted that Jacob Zuma wanted to meet her before she went to the state banquet that was planned.

She could not remember, however, which brothers of Gupta had called.

"At first he was bragging and talking with confidence about his role and interest in the state visit, and when I got up I did not go, he became aggressive and he said he would call the president to tell him that I refuse. "

Despite another phone call from Gupta's brother, Mentor said she refused to leave the hotel with him, expressing her concerns about her security abroad.

"I can not surrender myself to a man who has built a reputation with women on a silver platter, driven by strange people," Mentor testified.

The former ANC MP said the visit also surprised her because she had tried several times to meet Zuma about the nuclear reactor project of the country.

"I had tried to see the president at home, so it was strange and uncomfortable that I would be invited to see the president on foreign soil," she testified.

Mentor also told the committee how the brothers Gupta were in charge during official ceremonies during the state visit.

"In the meeting room where the Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies opened the procedure, he handed over to the person I knew as a Gupta brother, they were all grinding, they were in charge, so to speak," she said.

Mentor testified that the Gupta brothers received tags that other officials did not have, which made them & # 39; official & # 39; and she gave more weight than others.

Ministerial offer

In 2010, about "two weeks" after the trip to China, perhaps sometime in September, Mentor was invited to Saxonwold.

She flew to Joburg from Cape Town and was awaited by two men carrying a placard with her name.

She said the men wore dark suits and sunglasses and asked her how she was doing, and she recognized Rajesh.

After a stopover in the Sahara offices, where she met Ajay Gupta, she was taken to what she thought was a "storage room" for a meeting with Zuma, but it turned out to be a home.

Mentor says she did not know exactly where she lived and what the address was, but later she found out it was in Saxonwold.

She says she suspected it was just another residence.

Mentor did not have to log in at the gate and when they passed the guards, she said she saw a few houses, but they stopped at the biggest one, which she describes as & # 39; gigantic & # 39 ;, and it is this & # 39; mansion & # 39; that they came in.

She was helped on the marble stairs because she was on crutches.

Mentor says she had to wait in the & # 39; lounge & # 39; or & # 39; reception & # 39; from the country house.

& # 39; Ajay & # 39; came into the room and they talked about her origin from the North Cape and how she & # 39; useful & # 39; could be for them.

Mentor says the conversation soon turns to SAA, and Mentor said that Ajay had told her that the "turnaround strategy" at the airline did not work.

Mentor confirmed that she had been granted the position of minister of public companies when she abolished the SAA Johannesburg route to Mumbai (India).

Mentor says that Ajay Gupta told her that she could become a minister of public companies in the near future and that the president would rearrange his cabinet.

Mentor was surprised that Ajay was aware of an imminent cabinet rearrangement when there was nothing left in the media.

Mentor says when she asked how she would be appointed, Ajay said: "they could tell me something with the president".

The Guptas explained that Jet Airways, an airline with which they "worked", would take over the route.

It was Jet Airways whose Guptas chartered the plane that transported guests from India to Johannesburg – countries at the Waterkloof Air Force Base – to attend a family wedding in 2013.

Mentor said that, after Barbara Hogan was fired and Malusi Gigaba was in the position of public companies, the India / SA Route was canceled as suggested by Ajay at their meeting in Saxonworld. Jet Airways filled the slot.

Mentor appears again on Tuesday for the investigation, because there were documents that arrived Monday morning and that they had not seen.

She was the third witness to testify to the fact-finding committee of state collections currently under way in Parktown, Johannesburg.

On Friday saw an explosive testimony of former Deputy Minister of Finance Mcebisi Jonas, who told the committee that a brother of Gupta had claimed that they had everything under control; we have control over the NPA, we have control over the Hawks, we have control over national intelligence. So we have complete control and the old man [former president Jacob Zuma] will do everything we tell him to do ".

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