The Gupta family’s lawyer, Gert van der Merwe, has reportedly advised his clients to take legal action against former ANC member of parliament Vytjie Mentor following her explosive claims that the controversial family could be tipped to take over the South African Social Security Agency’s (Sassa) multimillion-rand contract to pay social grants to 17 million South Africans.
The Times reports that Van der Merwe dismissed Mentor’s allegations that the social grant crisis was designed by Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini so the payment contract could be handed to a Gupta-owned company as “completely baseless and [a] vexatious effort to defame the Gupta family”.
He has accused the former MP, who became famous overnight when she alleged the Guptas had offered her a Cabinet position, of having a “vendetta” against the Guptas.
“She was the instigator in three of four witnesses in the State of Capture report, and I have read what she said and read her evidence – it’s completely baseless.
“It’s obvious she has a vendetta against the [Gupta] family. My advice to my client is to have a summons issued against her for the defamation that she so intentionally tried to spread as far and wide as possible,” Van der Merwe was quoted as saying by the paper.
He also said he was considering submitting a counter application to interdict Mentor from posting further claims against the family if she failed to produce evidence.
The Gupta family and politicians accused of having links to them have consistently denied any knowledge of wrongdoing between them and government, and have always dismissed Mentor’s allegations with contempt every time they arise.