Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor’s testimony earlier than the Zondo fee of inquiry into state seize has been met with reservations after journey data contradicted sure elements of her proof.
On Monday, Mentor took the stand to defend the testimony she gave earlier than the fee in August final yr. She would be the first witness to be cross-examined.
Throughout her earlier testimony, Mentor detailed two encounters with the controversial Gupta brothers: In August 2010, throughout a state journey to China and two months later at a clandestine assembly on the Gupta’s Saxonwold compound.
READ MORE: Mentor journeys up below the highlight
Mentor instructed the fee in August 2018 that on a flight to Beijing through Dubai, she was approached by former president Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane.
On the time she alleged that Duduzane Zuma was accompanied by Fana Hlongwane, adviser to former defence minister Joe Modise, who is claimed to have benefited from the 1999 arms deal.
She later retracted this a part of her testimony in a letter despatched to the fee in November final yr.
Mentor additionally alleged that she met a person whom she recognized as Rajesh Gupta on the flight to China. Rajesh typically goes by the identify ‘Tony’.
She instructed the fee that each one three Gupta brothers — Ajay, Rajesh and Atul — had been at a convention in China.
Mentor instructed the fee that on the convention in China, she realised that the three Gupta brothers had been seemingly coordinating the occasion. She claimed that one night, she was summoned to satisfy with then president Jacob Zuma by a person whom she deduced was a member of the Gupta household.
On Tuesday, Advocate Mahlape Sello — who led Mentor’s proof — revealed that the fee had obtained journey data from the division of dwelling affairs regarding the Gupta brothers, Hlongwane, Duduzane Zuma and Mentor.
Based on Sello, these data present that Atul Gupta had not left the nation on the time of the China journey. Flight data from Emirates additionally present that Atul Gupta didn’t use the airline in August 2010.
Mentor countered, saying that it’s well-known that Atul Gupta used greater than 4 totally different passports. However Sello instructed the fee that each one these passports are mirrored within the dwelling affairs data.
Mentor’s testimony that she had travelled to Johannesburg on a Monday in October at Jacob Zuma’s behest was additionally contradicted by journey data. In her earlier testimony, Mentor alleged that she flew from Cape City to Johannesburg, the place she was met by Atul and Rajesh Gupta.
Based on Mentor, the pair whisked her away to the Sahara places of work in Midrand the place she was met by Gupta patriarch, Ajay. Based on Mentor, she was then taken to the the Gupta compound the place she was provided the job of public enterprises minister by Ajay Gupta.
Sello revealed nonetheless that data from South African Airways (SAA) don’t present Mentor travelling from Cape City to Johannesburg in October 2010.
Mentor took difficulty with SAA’s flight data as a result of they don’t correspond with Parliament’s journey data. “They don’t seem to be a real reflection of my travels,” Mentor instructed the fee.
Sello conceded that data from Parliament present two flights taken by Mentor that aren’t mirrored on the SAA document. Parliaments data revealed that Mentor had flown between Cape City and Johannesburg on October 15 2010, which was a Friday.
Nonetheless, Mentor was adamant she travelled to Johannesburg on a Monday after receiving a request from Zuma’s presidential aide, Lakela Kaunda, on a Sunday night.
“I’m very clear in my thoughts that it was a Monday chair … I’m crystal clear about that,” Mentor mentioned.
READ MORE: Ajay Gupta: Vytjie Mentor’s state seize testimony riddled with lies
In an affidavit to the fee, Ajay Gupta dismissed Mentor’s testimony saying there have been substantial disputes of truth, together with various “obtrusive faults and weaknesses”. Cross-examination was wanted “to check the reliability of the witness that has given proof earlier than the Fee”, he mentioned.
The Guptas had been denied go away to cross-examine Mentor due to their unwillingness to look earlier than the fee in individual.