City Press reported today that its journalist Abram Mashego has seen a statement by former MP Vytjie Mentor to the police in which she accuses President Jacob Zuma, his son Duduzane and several ministers of corruption.
She did not want to discuss the case with City Press but also did not deny that she had laid the charges.
She reportedly submitted two sets of affidavits to the Hawks between May and June. Hawks head Major General Mthandazo Ntlemeza confirmed to the paper that they were indeed investigating a case of corruption against the Gupta brothers Rajesh, Atul and Ajay.
Mentor’s allegations included a possible case of corruption related to the Gupta brothers securing a loan from the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to partner in an aerospace project with Denel. She claims, among several other allegations that the paper writes about in great detail, that a R300 million loan was used to improperly buy Oakbay Investments. However, City Press in its report suggests that Mentor’s allegations appear to be “confusing the IDC loan that was made to Oakbay Resources for Shiva [Uranium], and not for the Denel partnership”.
Mentor further alleged that the state forgoing its loan in return for a minority stake in a Gupta company was also due to corruption.
The IDC has, however, disputed Mentor’s figures and provided City Press with examples of details she may have gotten incorrect.
Mentor’s affidavits reportedly provide detailed allegations of what she claims have been attempts by the Guptas to gain influence over the state as far back as 1994.
She also went into further detail about her by now well-known allegation that Ajay Gupta told her he had the power, by “putting in a word with the president [Zuma]” to have her appointed as the minister of public enterprises if she would agree to help stop SAA’s flights between Africa and India.
When Mentor complained to Zuma of what had transpired, she reportedly claimed that he tried to calm her down. She reportedly declared under oath that “he was fatherly and apologised for all that I had been put through”.
The Guptas have denied all Mentor’s allegations and the presidency also did not comment.
Meanwhile, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s office has been given R1.5 million for an investigation into the allegations of state capture by Mentor and others.
According to political analysts, the cash injection from Treasury is a clear indication of factionalism within the ANC.
Analyst Daniel Silke said the approved request for money “simply shows” that within the ANC, there are two distinct camps – one that wants to preserve the current status quo of the ruling party, and the other that is concerned about state capture and may be centred on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
“The money was requested specifically for the so-called state capture matter,” he told The Citizen.
“We requested R3 million. We have only been guaranteed half of it and we are grateful. We understand that we are not the only state institution that is in need of resources.
“There are many others that also need a slice of the pie. We will seek to do more with the little we have received.
“The funds will come through the department of justice, as does our annual budget. It has not yet been received,” Segalwe said.
Madonsela was asked to investigate the conduct of the state in relation to Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas and Mentor allegedly being offered Cabinet positions by the controversial Gupta family. Her office will also seek to find out if Minister Des van Rooyen’s appointment was known beforehand by the Guptas and whether two senior advisers had links to the family.
Silke added that portions of the ANC were extremely concerned and “wish to expose elements of state capture that may exist” – thus resulting in a battle between two factions or viewpoints.
“The public protector’s office may be used by one of these factions to flesh open some of the irregularity that harmed the South African economy.”
According to analyst Professor Andre Duvenhage, this showed a small fight within a much bigger one.
“That is quite interesting – you have a backlog of conflict in the ANC where you have Pravin Ghordan on one side and the Guptas and Zuma on other.
“We are looking at faction fights of all levels of society and within the regime. You have a Zuma group and an anti-Zuma group. Jacob Zuma is supported by the Premier League and the security cluster.
“The other line is the traditional leadership, especially in KZN.
“There are a number of groupings. I believe there was an agreement with the NEC (national executive committee) to go into the August 3 elections headed by Zuma. If they take him out, they will lose the elections. Then the plan is to give an exit strategy to Zuma. I think he agreed to this, but [is] using this window of opportunity to reorganise himself.”
He said in this regard “control over the SABC is critical”.
Silke also pointed to Madonsela’s office being overworked and only having a few months left to complete the state capture probe.
“Very little will be accomplished until we have a new person at the helm of office. The allocation of funds will be there, but there may not be concrete action because of pressures and the time frame of office.”
– Additional reporting by Yadhana Jadoo