Mentor speaks out about Gupta job offer, says Zuma accepted her rejection

BY CHARL BOSCH - MARCH 18, 2016

Former Portfolio Chairperson of Public Works Vytjie Mentor has claimed that President Jacob Zuma showed no offence when she rejected the offer by the Gupta family to become the next Minister of Public Enterprises six year ago.

In an interview with Gauteng radio station Power FM on Thursday, Mentor, who revealed in a series of posts on Facebook this week that the controversial family had offered her the position days before the sacking of Barbara Hogan, said she declined the offer after a 15 minute meeting, before informing Zuma who was present in another room of the Guptas’ home in the upmarket Johannesburg suburb of Saxonworld.

“I said to him Mr President I have just been asked to do this and I can't do it. I thought I was going to meet you. He did not take offence to me saying I'm disgusted and I cannot agree. He said I understand Ntombazana [girl], it’s a pity you had to come in crutches, look after yourself,” she said.

Mentor also alleged that she told high-ranking government officials, including a minister, about the meeting, as well as former Public Protector Lawrence Mushwana.

“When I go out to speak [in public] it is after I had spoken many many times privately within the structures and with comrades face-to-face," she said.

On Thursday, Mentor lashed out at comments by Zuma that he could not remember her, saying he walked her down a marbled covered staircase in the Gupta’s home, to a black vehicle that took her to the airport.

“It was about 5-7 days or so before Barbara Hogan was reshuffled as a Minister of Public Enterprises. The rest I will reveal at the right time”. Hours later, her Facebook page became inactive although it was subsequently resorted.

Her latest comments comes the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Congress of the People (Cope) laid criminal charges against Zuma and the Guptas on the Thursday, after Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas admitted a day earlier that the family offered him the position of Finance Minister before the controversial sacking of Nhlanhla Nene in December last year.

Proceedings during Zuma’s questions and answers session in Parliament yesterday also became heated when the entire DA caucus left the chamber in protest against his remarks that the Rand was already on a downwards slope before Nene was axed.

Earlier during the sitting, Zuma also rejected claims by DA leader Mmusi Maimane that cabinet minister were appointed by the Guptas, saying only he had the authority to appoint or get rid of members.

“I appointed Jonas as a Deputy Minister. If he said he was offered by the Guptas, I think you should ask them or him. Where do I come in? Don’t ask me, I have no business with that. I am in charge of government, no minister here was ever appointed by the Guptas or anybody else. They were appointed by me”, a defiant Zuma, said after Maimane remarked that the country was being run from Saxonworld instead of the Union Buildings or Luthuli House.