POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD: Spotlight on cross-examination of Vytjie Mentor and Sona debates
MPs will debate President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address on Tuesday and Wednesday
Former ANC MP Vytjie Mentor will be the first witness to be cross-examined at the commission of inquiry into state capture this week.
Mentor, who has alleged that the Guptas offered her the job of public enterprises minister, will be cross-examined by the lawyer for former president Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane and by businessman Fana Hlongwane’s legal representative.
Mentor testified in August 2018 that the Guptas offered her the job so that she could stop the SAA route to Mumbai so that Gupta-linked airline Jet Airways could take it over. At the time, the route was lucrative for SAA.
Mentor has already had to correct her evidence at the commission by writing in a letter that it might not have been Hlongwane to whom Duduzane Zuma introduced her.
Meanwhile, the focus on the State of the Nation Address (Sona), delivered by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday, continues in parliament. On Tuesday and Wednesday, MPs will debate the Sona at joint sittings of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces. The president will reply to the debate at a joint sitting on Thursday.
About 40 parliamentary committees are expected to sit on Tuesday and Wednesday before the joint sittings.
In Gauteng, Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga’s resignation will take effect on Monday. The DA in the city will therefore attempt to have its mayoral candidate, DA MP Stevens Mokgalapa, elected as mayor.
The inquiry into suspended senior National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) officials Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi also continues on Monday with a continuation of the cross-examination of the deputy national director of public prosecutions, Willie Hofmeyr. Hofmeyr has said that the view emerged under Jiba’s leadership that the NPA prosecutes those seen as opposing corruption.
In the justice cluster, Robert McBride, head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), will head to court on Tuesday to battle with police minister Bheki Cele over his decision not to renew McBride’s contract as head of the police watchdog.
McBride will ask the court to set aside Cele’s decision, declare it unlawful and unconstitutional and to direct the parliament’s portfolio committee on police to decide over whether to renew the contract by February 28.
Trade union federation Cosatu will embark on a one-day national strike against job losses on Wednesday, with Eskom one of its targets. Cosatu has rejected the unbundling of Eskom that was officially confirmed by Ramaphosa in his Sona.
The disciplinary committee of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (Irba) is expected to hold a sanction hearing for former KPMG partner Jacques Wessels who audited the Gupta family’s accounts.
The committee has reached a decision on Wessels, but it has not been made public.
Wessels, who was the lead partner for non-listed Gupta entities, is alleged to have ensured that Linkway Trading dodged paying the SA Revenue Services more than R2m.
He resigned from KPMG before the company could take its own disciplinary action against him.