/ 8 September 2016

Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor on Zuma: ‘He is efficiently sly and unpredictable’

President Jacob Zuma at the 23rd Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Colombo
Officials say 31 people have died in protest-related violence so far, while Human Rights Watch says at least 51 have been killed including medics and children. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters)

President Jacob Zuma is sly and unpredictable, former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor said on Thursday.

Addressing the Cape Town Press Club as a member of the SA First Forum (SAFF), she was asked about Zuma’s future and who could replace him.

She sighed and said: “It might be that he appears clever. I think he is actually sly. He is very efficiently sly. It is exactly for that reason that the apparatus of the governing party is largely of patronage.”

She said people in the ANC Youth League and Women’s League, and the national leadership to a large extent, were elected on the basis of patronage.

“They will forever be serving the agenda of their master.”

She said Zuma was not his own man, and that his handlers told him what to do.

“Whether they will tell him to axe [Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi] Zwane or not, I cannot say. I know he will do what they tell him to do.”

She felt there was an “escalation of arrogance” by Zwane and others in Parliament.

‘Agent of the Constitution’ 
South Africans, and not the ANC or its leadership, would put the country right, she said.

Mentor said she had been warning the ANC about Zuma since the party’s 1997 Mafikeng conference.

He was a “dark horse” and a compromise candidate for ANC deputy president that year.

“When I projected to the ANC that they would lose three metros, they called me a DA agent, which I am not. I am an agent of the Constitution.”

The SAFF had considered the option of private prosecution of Zuma, but money was an issue, she said.

Mentor was asked who she would support for president, given the option of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC treasurer Zweli Mkhize and National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete.

She said she was a gender activist, but did not support women being given positions of authority purely because of their gender.

“So forget about the last one.”

‘Point man’ 
Mentor felt Ramaphosa sometimes said the right things.

“I find he blows hot and cold. Maybe he blows hot because he is still there.”

She did not think Mkhize was the right candidate because of how he had apparently handled the matter of Zuma’s rape accuser, Khwezi.

“He was the point man for the president. He immediately took a side. He was negotiating for him firstly, that the matter should not go to court. He saw it as a traditional thing. What kind of president would he be?”

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was a “good technocrat, if you put Sarafina aside”.

Mentor had supported her at one stage, but turned neutral after becoming aware that she could be playing into an agenda of which she was not aware.

Mentor said she did not have a presidential candidate, but admitted to speaking to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, who said she was not interested. – News24