Mantashe sues ex-MP Vytjie Mentor over slurs

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has launched a legal battle to stave off allegations that he was an indirect beneficiary of an Eskom tender contract.

Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor is expected to be slapped with a summons from Mantashe, wherein he claims damages over allegations that Eskom gave his wife, Nolwandle, “the biggest government catering contract in history”.

Mantashe has been accused of using her “as a front”.

“She does business in the private sector; she cannot [do] business [with] government because of my position,” Mantashe told City Press.

The instruction to serve papers on Mentor was issued last Tuesday, he said.

Mentor said this week that the claims were already in the public domain, as she had published them on her Facebook page.

She explained she had received a call from a law firm representing Mantashe, but refused to provide them with her details because their “approach did not make sense”.

“They only told me Mantashe wanted money from me,” she said.

Mentor said that she suspected this was related to “outstanding levies to the ANC” during her tenure in Parliament.

Last Friday, Mentor wrote on her Facebook page:

“Gwede seems not to know me too well. I will take him to the dry cleaner’s and back. I don’t play with bullies like him. I chew them to pieces and spit them out vociferously.”

According to newspaper reports, in 2014, Eskom awarded a five-year catering contract worth R639 million to a Bidvest-linked company where Mantashe’s wife is a director.

The balance of the contract was reportedly awarded to another company, taking the total value of the two contracts to R1.4bn.

City Press had previously seen an SMS doing the rounds in ANC circles, containing claims that Eskom “will fork out a staggering R1.4bn on two five-year catering contracts that provide free meals for its workforce [at] Medupi in Limpopo and Kusile in Mpumalanga”.

Insiders at the State Security Agency alleged that Mantashe had a close relationship with suspended former Eskom acting chief executive officer (CEO) Matshela Koko.

It was also alleged that the utility’s disgraced former CEO, Brian Molefe, was recently yanked from Parliament back to Eskom in a bid to sideline Koko and undermine Mantashe.

However, Mantashe said last week that he did not know Koko and that “the things that were being said” about his wife on social media “did not exist”.

He insisted Mentor had to own up to her mistakes. “She must explain and we must stop playing.”