South Africa 29.8.2018 11:23 am

Mantashe again threatens to sue Mentor over ‘manufactured facts’

The minister reportedly said that she “appears to suffer from memory lapse”.

ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe, also the mineral resources minister, reportedly told eNCA journalist Xoli Mngambi that, should he be called to testify at the state capture inquiry chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, he would clarify certain issues raised by former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor during her testimony.

Mentor testified that she had told Mantashe, who was the governing party’s secretary general at the time, and Jessie Duarte, ANC deputy secretary-general, about the alleged offer to her for a ministerial post allegedly made by one of the Gupta brothers at the family’s compound in Saxonworld eight years ago.

Mngambi reported on Twitter that Mantashe explained on the phone that he believes Mentor “suffers from memory lapse” because Duarte became his deputy SG [secretary-general] in “2012, not in 2010”.

Mentor was wrapping up her testimony at the commission where former Government Communications and Informations System CEO Themba Maseko was to take the stand next.

Mantashe told the eNCA journalist that he had met Mentor eight years ago to discuss “her trip to China, paid for by Transnet”.

“But he says they “never spoke about the Guptas”. Mantashe said Mentor appears to “suffer from memory lapse”,” Mngambi tweeted on Wednesday.

The former ANC secretary-general reportedly also allegedly told Mngambi that he would sue Mentor over what he claims are “manufactured facts” by her around his ownership of “farms” and an “Eskom contract”.

News24 reported that Duarte has also denied discussing the Guptas with Mentor.

Last year, in the wake of reports that Mantashe was at that time also planning to sue former Mentor, she took to Facebook to challenge him.

She wrote: “Dear Gwede, let’s see if you will win this one.”

It was reported that Mantashe had “launched a legal battle to stave off allegations that he was an indirect beneficiary of an Eskom tender contract”.

In April, Mentor claimed his wife’s company had received a multimillion-rand Eskom catering tender when it was led by “Gupta stooges”.

Mentor wrote that she did not trust Mantashe and alleged the SG benefited from his access to power and the influence of the Guptas.

She claimed his deputy, Duarte, a consistent Zuma defender, also benefited.

Mentor alleged Mantashe’s wife, Nolwandle, had made money through her business associations out of Eskom catering contracts, and that this had links back to the Guptas.

A Sunday Times report in 2014 had revealed that Eskom 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 was a director.

Another company received an even bigger catering tender, bringing the total to R1.4 billion.

Mentor, apparently conflating the two tenders in her Facebook post in April 2017, wrote: “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?”

Mantashe’s wife was also the CEO of Tamborah Resources, which in 2014 stated its goal was to be a “long-term supplier of all power station coal to the national power utility”.

Nolwandle Mantashe confirmed at the time 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.”

She wrote on her Facebook page in relation to the legal threats from Mantashe: “I don’t play with bullies like him. I chew them to pieces and spit them out vociferously.”

Mantashe denied any foul play on his part, particularly that he used his relationship with former Eskom acting CEO Matshela Koko to benefit his wife. He denied even knowing Koko and had taken exception to “things being said” about his wife on social media.

Mantashe was further quoted as saying: “She [Mentor] must explain and we must stop playing.”

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