IT elec­toral sys­tem ten­der change raises alarm

The Sunday Independent - - NEWS -

“Re­cent re­ports around a ten­der to change the IT sys­tem around the elec­toral sys­tem are rais­ing an alarm bell. The sys­tem has been work­ing for us. If it’s not dys­func­tional, why the sud­den need for a change?” she asked.

Men­tor warned that if elec­tions were rigged, there would be “blood­bath”, and this had to be avoided.

She came to the at­ten­tion of the coun­try when she blew the whis­tle on cor­rup­tion and state cap­ture.

She told a group gath­ered to lis­ten to her po­lit­i­cal jour­ney at The Fu­gard The­atre that the signs of cor­rup­tion in the party, she started work­ing for as a teenager, were ev­i­dent from an early stage. She also de­tailed her meet­ings with Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma as though they hap­pened a short while ago.

“I first met the pres­i­dent in 1991 in Dur­ban dur­ing the first elec­tive con­fer­ence of the party on South African soil.

“I was a mother of a three-mon­thold baby and had brought her along.

“Just be­fore a ses­sion ended ei­ther my hus­band or I would run to the care fa­cil­ity to check on her. And I re­mem­ber that as I was go­ing to the venue a green Toy­ota Camry was parked just out­side the en­trance to the venue. A man was seated at the back and he had sum­moned one of the guys he was with to call me.

“After ask­ing where I was from, I told him I was from the North­ern Cape and he asked me for di­a­monds. My re­sponse was that he needed to speak to De Beers. But when I think about that now, it could have meant that there was a de­sire to make a quick buck.”

Men­tor said her first meet­ing with the Gup­tas in 2010 was un­der the pre­text that she was to meet with the pres­i­dent to dis­cuss a “burn­ing” en­ergy-re­lated is­sue.

“On a Sun­day, I re­ceived a call say­ing that ar­range­ments had been made for me to meet with the pres­i­dent to fly out to Jo­han­nes­burg, but the meet­ing was to be held in Pre­to­ria. I was, how­ever, taken to a com­pound of houses in Jo­han­nes­burg and I was told that I would be in­tro­duced to some­one be­fore be­ing taken to Pre­to­ria.

“I was taken to a room in­side this huge house (in Sax­on­wold) where an In­dian man was sit­ting be­hind a desk. I was shocked that he even knew de­tails about my per­sonal life, and the fact that he knew the agenda of my meet­ing with the pres­i­dent.

“He told me that I could be a cabi­net min­is­ter if I agreed to dis­con­tinue the SA Air­ways flight to In­dia”.

“I out­rightly re­fused the of­fer and be­cause I was ag­i­tated raised my voice. At that point, the pres­i­dent en­tered the room. It was as if he was listening in an­other room.

“I leapt to my feet out of re­spect for the pres­i­dent while the guy I was speak­ing to re­mained seated.

“The pres­i­dent told me not to worry, ev­ery­thing would be fine. He kept say­ing, “don’t worry, ntombazana (lady), ev­ery­thing will be fine, and he walked me to the car,” she said.

The pres­i­dent had pre­vi­ously de­nied the meet­ing. But Men­tor said the miss­ing link in the “ge­n­e­sis” of state cap­ture was for­mer min­is­ter in the Pres­i­dency, Es­sop Pa­had.

She said a close friend had told her how in 1994 dur­ing a cam­paign for peo­ple to ob­tain iden­tity doc­u­ments, they went to a house where they met the Gup­tas who asked them to ar­range a meet­ing with the then pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela and Thabo Mbeki in re­turn for R50 000 to the ANC’s elec­tion cam­paign. The re­quest was re­layed to Luthuli House but Mbeki re­jected it out­right.

How­ever, Men­tor said she was told that Pa­had vol­un­teered to meet with them.

In 1996, Pa­had was the first min­is­ter to ap­point a mem­ber of the Gupta fam­ily on the In­ter­na­tional Mar­ket­ing Coun­cil, a body tasked with en­sur­ing with man­ag­ing the im­age of the coun­try to boost confi- dence and in­vest­ment.

But Pa­had had re­cently told the me­dia that he only met the Gup­tas in 1996 while on a state visit with Mbeki.

Asked whether she wanted to still re­main a mem­ber of the ANC in light of the ex­poses she has made about the party, she replied: “I love my coun­try with all my heart. But over the last few years I have been dis­heart­ened with my party. I don’t want to as­so­ciate my­self with the rot that is so bad and deep.”

She en­vis­aged that the party would split re­sult­ing in coali­tions among the pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates or an emer­gence of a new “group­ing” that could con­test the elec­tions.

“The ground is ready for a new group­ing. There will be splits be­fore and after the De­cem­ber elec­tive con­fer­ence which will be char­ac­terised by a lot of ban­ter­ing and bruis­ing”, Men­tor said.

She called on civil so­ci­ety to be more ac­tive in the af­fairs of the coun­try to de­fend democ­racy and to chart the coun­try’s fu­ture.

“No Holy Cows is self-pub­lished as some pub­lish­ers did not want to take the risk of li­bel,” she said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.