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Whistleblower Vytjie Mentor lends courage to the ACDP

By Crystal Orderson, in Cape Town
Posted on Friday, 29 March 2019 13:01

Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor at the Judicial Commission of Enquiry probing state capture in 2018. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The former ANC whistleblower against state capture, Vytjie Mentor, has picked the ACDP for the 8 May election in South Africa.

With the South African elections in just over a month, political parties are battling it out to convince the close to 30 million voters to cast their ballot for them. The big parties have deployed their leaders – the ANC’s Cyril Ramaphosa, the Democratic Alliance’s Mmusi Maimane and the Economic Freedom Fighters’ Julius Malema – to woo voters. Smaller parties have to be content with persuading the electorate that a vote for them is not a wasted vote. Attracting a big name to the party brings a strong voice to their election message.

The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) styles itself as a Christian Democratic party “aspiring to bring stability, prosperity and hope to South Africa”. In 2009 the party received 142,658 votes, 0.8% of total votes cast, decreasing to 104,039 (0.57%) in 2014. The party won three seats in the national assembly.

This week the party unveiled and welcomed the whistleblower and former ANC member Vytjie Mentor as a party member.

At a press briefing on Thursday ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe said Mentor “brings a wealth of experience to the party […]. She is known for her courage speaking out against state capture and corruption in the ANC and the cosy relationship with the Guptas.”

Who is Vytjie Mentor?

  • Mentor was the ANC’s chair of the parliamentary caucus from 2004 to 2008, and chaired the parliamentary portfolio committee on public enterprises.
  • In 2010, The Sunday Times accused her of accepting a $10,000 trip to China from Transnet without going through the proper channels, and she lost her job.
  • Testifying to the Zondo Commission enquiry into state capture in 2018, she revealed that on that very flight she had been approached by members of the Gupta family who later offered her a cabinet post in exchange for cancelling an SAA flight route from Johannesburg to India, which she refused.
  • In 2017 she self-published a book, No Holy Cows, in which she alleged that Jacob Zuma had sexually harassed her.

Why the ACDP?

According to Mentor, she has found her political home in the ACDP because it is God-centered. She says: “The country needs God in order to become peaceful and prosperous. God is first. The time for fighting is over.”

Mentor said she had “given up on the ANC in 2017, but it was not an overnight decision”. She says she’s not been promised a seat in the national assembly and joins the party as a volunteer.

“I’ll be recruiting for the ACDP and getting people to vote and join the party.  For me, it’s not about the [election candidate] list. My role is in growing the party,” she added.

Meshoe told The Africa Report: “The ACDP is delighted to have Ms Vytjie Mentor, a courageous woman of integrity, as part of our growing party. […] The fact that she decided to join our party after election party lists had been submitted to the IEC clearly shows that she was drawn to the ACDP’s values and principles, and had no desire for power.”

Bottom line:

Whether big names like Mentor will persuade voters to cast their ballot for a smaller party on 8 May remains to be seen.

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