Former ANC MP and Gupta whistleblower Vytjie Mentor offered another of her reasons on Facebook on Thursday morning for why she had not taken up the ANC on its offer of “investigating” allegations of state capture by the controversial Gupta family.
She said that she had not trusted ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.
This week, Mantashe earned derision from the opposition for appearing to backtrack on his earlier criticism of President Jacob Zuma’s controversial Cabinet reshuffle. EFF leader Julius Malema had predicted it would happen because he said Mantashe was “a coward”.
However, Mentor believes the SG’s attitude is reflective of the fact that he benefits from his access to power and the influence of the Guptas. She claims his deputy, Jessie Duarte, a consistent Zuma defender, also benefits.
Mantashe said last year that the ANC was closing its investigation of the Guptas’ alleged undue influence over the ANC and state appointments, due to a lack of submissions. However, the public protector at the time, Thuli Madonsela, found in her State of Capture report that there was indeed a case to be investigated, though that now also appears to have stalled since Madonsela was replaced by Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
Mentor alleges that Mantashe’s wife, Nolwandle, makes money through her business associations out of Eskom catering contracts, and that this has links back to the Guptas.
A Sunday Times report in 2014 revealed that Eskom had awarded a five-year catering contract to provide workers with hot meals and fresh fruit juice worth R639 million to a company called RoyalMnandi Duduza. RoyalMnandi, the paper reported, is part of the Bidvest group, of which Mantashe’s wife is a director.
Another company received an even bigger catering tender, bringing the total to R1.4 billion.
Mentor, apparently conflating the two tenders, wrote on Thursday: “The other reason I refused to go to Luthuli House on the Gupta State Capture matter is because Gwede’s wife has been given a five-year catering contract of R1.4 billion by the same Eskom that was led by Brian Molefe and other Guptas stooges.
“And Jessie Duarte’s ‘enstranged’ husband does huge contracts with Eskom too, when her son is a close friend and business partner of the son another Gupta controlled woman [sic] that sits on the Eskom Board.
“Gwede is a beneficiary of Gupta appointed Board members of Eskom through his wife. Why do South Africans expect him to save South Africa from the rot?”
His wife is also the CEO of Tamborah Resources, which in 2014 stated that its goal is to be a “long-term supplier of all power station coal to the national power utility”.
However, very little new information and reports appear to be available about this company and whether it succeeded in getting on to Eskom’s supplier list.
Nolwandle Mantashe confirmed that Tamborah Resources was in the market to sell coal to Eskom, but added, as quoted by the Mail & Guardian: “I do not rely on political connections to do business but on capable black and white people.
“I really do not have an interest in politics but I enjoy the political environment and economic transformation agenda in South Africa because it enables us to compete fairly.”
Last month, the Gupta family’s lawyer, Gert van der Merwe, advised his clients to take legal action against Mentor.
He 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 family.
“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 last month.
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.