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.