Guptas want their own video of in loco inspection shown at state capture commission
11 February 2019
The Guptas, through their legal representatives, have told the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture that they want their own video of an inspection of the family's Saxonwold home to be submitted as evidence.
Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor is back for cross-examination at the commission after giving testimony in August 2018.
Before evidence leader Mahlape Sello managed to delve into Mentor's testimony, Mike Hellens, SC, acting on behalf of the Guptas, made the request.
"The credibility of Ms Mentor is brought sharply into focus in the in loco inspection," Hellens told Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Monday.
Three tapes exist: One shot by Mentor and her lawyers; a second by the commission, and a third by the Gupta family's representatives.
A site inspection of the Gupta mansion was conducted in December by investigators, evidence leaders and the former ANC MP.
The family, which has close ties to former president Jacob Zuma, has been accused of using that relationship to loot billions from South African taxpayers and to exert undue influence over Zuma's executive and operations at some state-owned enterprises.
Hellens argued that the footage had not been tampered with. He also argued that if not used in the commission the footage should be available to the public.
He said people needed to see Mentor's "facial expressions" and "loss of words" captured by the Gupta's videographer.
Zondo, who seemed unmoved by the issue, questioned why he needed to sit through several hours of footage when all he probably needed was an hour.
Credibility under attack
Mentor, who asked to make quick remarks during the exchange between Hellens and Zondo, told the commission she felt her credibility was under attack.
"There's been no opportunity for myself or legal team to defend my credibility as it is being attacked," claimed Mentor.
She gave an emotional account of how difficult her life has been as a state capture whistleblower, claiming the process had taken a "toll" on her and placed a great "weight" on her.
Mentor is set to be cross-examined over two days.
She said she just wanted to finish and "go home and pray" for the commission to conclude its work.
Zondo told Mentor she would have an opportunity to clarify her position when the issue of the in loco inspection was raised. He also told Hellens he would give judgment on his request regarding the third video tape at a later stage.
State capture inquiry: Mentor insists flight details are accurate despite discrepancies
Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor remains adamant that she caught an SAA flight to Johannesburg and back to Cape Town on a Monday sometime between September and October in 2010.
This is despite records before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture reflecting that she caught a return flight to Gauteng via SAA on Friday, October 15.
Mentor is being cross-examined at the commission following her testimony in August 2018. She posted on her Facebook account that she had been offered the position of public enterprises minister by the Gupta brothers if she stopped SAA's direct flights to India.
She also claimed former president Jacob Zuma was at the family's Saxonwold mansion when the offer was made to her.
Mentor faced off with commission evidence leader Mahlape Sello who quizzed her on her travel plans around that period.
Previously, Mentor was told there was no evidence of her travel arrangements with SAA but admitted during Monday's session that there were two other flights discovered via the agency Parliament used.
'I stand by that'
"SAA appears to have missed a flight or two as indicated in the parliamentary record," she explained.
Mentor agreed with the argument that there was a disparity between some of the travel arrangements done in Parliament versus directly via the airline.
"I say I have a problem with these records and I maintain that I flew from Cape Town to Johannesburg on a particular Monday and I returned on that same Monday back to Cape Town and during that visit I was taken to Sahara and to Saxonwold where I met the president. I stand by that," said Mentor.
To highlight the disparities between the records, Sello also mentioned a flight Mentor took to Kimberly on November 4, which was contained in the parliamentary records but is not reflected at SAA.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who is also chairperson of the commission, asked Mentor if she wanted to consider changing her version.
The former MP insisted she was correct, saying she was "very clear" about the details.