Vytjie Mentor.  Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Vytjie Mentor. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

In addition to the outspoken Makhosi Khoza, three other female ANC MPs have allegedly had their lives threatened after calling for a conscience vote in the motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma.

Vytjie Mentor, a former ANC MP and chairwoman of the public enterprises committee, made the allegation on Thursday, when she was addressing the Cape Town Press Club and talking about her new book, Holy Cows.

The book gives an account of her time as an ANC MP, a time tinged by allegations of sexual harassment and corruption.

Mentor told reporters in Cape Town intimidation was rife among Zuma supporters in the ANC.

She shot back to public prominence in 2016, when she came out and said that she had been offered a Cabinet post by the Guptas.

Mentor deposed an affidavit to this effect to former public protector Thuli Madonsela as part of the state of capture investigation.

I AM RELUCTANT TO TAKE UP PROTECTION BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE I MAY DIE AT THE HANDS OF PEOPLE I WOULD EXPECT TO PROTECT ME.

Khoza has complained that she received arson threats and threats against her life and that of her daughter.

Mentor said she believed it was right to expect ANC MPs to vote with their conscience on the motion of no confidence.

"I am cautious of discussing how certain MPs will or won’t vote. Just touching the topic with some of them could mean I am trying to influence them.

"We are all saying, we put it on their conscience to do the right thing," said Mentor.

Mentor said she had been in contact with Khoza about her "dire security situation" with a view of providing some comfort to her.

Mentor said she had faith in the police, but was wary of the idea of police officers serving as security personnel.

"I don’t wish to cast aspersions and say they won’t be protected. I am reluctant to take up state protection, because I feel like I may die at the hands of the people I would expect to protect me," she said.

"I know the thugs that are trying to intimidate me but I would be lying if I said I knew who is intimidating MPs over the vote. I know three women MPs, other than Khoza, who are being intimidated," she said.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula recently likened ANC MPs who wished to exercise a conscience vote to suicide bombers — a comment that has drawn criticism and taken as a thinly veiled threat against the party’s MPs.

Former SACP deputy secretary general and ANC MP Jeremy Cronin said the ball was in Speaker Baleka Mbete’s court in terms of the motion of no confidence vote, but Mbalula’s remarks came close to intimidation if not inferring intimidation.

"I think I am guided by an excellent Constitutional Court judgment, which said the speaker has the power and that it is her call to decide and she is an important individual in Parliament. When you take your oath of office, you pledge allegiance to your country and not your party," said Cronin.

ANC MP Mathole Motshekga said he believed the party’s MPs should follow the national executive committee’s (NEC’s) directive not to support the DA’s motion, but it was wrong of certain members of the ANC to brand MPs as suicide bombers.

"I wouldn’t describe cadres as suicide bombers. What I know is that ANC members are disciplined members.

"They say they want to take guidance from the NEC and that guidance has been provided. From that point, we are all adults and should be allowed to do our jobs in the interest of the people," said Motshekga.

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