Former senior ANC MP Vytjie Mentor said today that her decision to join the ACDP followed a search to find a new party “that shares my values of godliness — that puts God at the centre of affairs and would urge the nation to do the same”.
In a telephone interview with Gateway News, Mentor, a former chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on public works, who came into the spotlight in 2016 after she claimed that the Gupta family offered her a cabinet post, said she began looking for a new party as she became more and more frustrated with the ruling party.
Mentor who testified about state capture at the Zondo Commission, and self-published a book No Holy Cows in which she speaks about state capture and alleged experiences of sexual harassment in the ANC, said she had met several times with ACDP leader Rev Kenneth Meshoe since last year, to ask him to explain certain policy points.
“I feel very good about joining the ACDP because it is now both my spiritual home and my political home, whereas the ANC has abandoned spirituality. You know there was a time in the ANC when we would start every meeting with a prayer and end every meeting with a prayer. That is no longer happening. You know the ANC was founded in a church. Those were once attractive things to me. But when corruption became so rife, I said the day I go to find a new political home it must be a party that honours God and puts God at the centre as it used to be with the ANC years ago,” she said.
She described her experience of fighting corruption while in the ANC as “spiritual warfare”.
“In that battle, I had to trust God because it was a dangerous thing to rise up against a ruling political party. Also, as a woman, you don’t take the first step unless you know you have a protector. I was spiritually strengthened in the process,” she said.
She said she sees her primary task for the moment as helping to build the voter support base for the ACDP.
She believes there is a spiritual awakening in the country, with people recognising that problems, such as violence in schools, are “because we have abandoned God in our policies and no longer teach religion in schools.”
“I call on Christians to take up their rightful place so that we pack our legislatures with God-fearing people — people who will think twice before they act, asking whether it brings glory and honour to God,” she said.
An educationist by background, she said she had studied further in various fields, including international relations, and had previously chaired the third largest pension fund in the country.
“I’m a human rights activist, a gender activist but first and foremost I am a servant of God — and a servant of the people.”
Rev Meshoe told Gateway News it was an honour to welcome a person of Mentor’s calibre into the ACDP.
“She is known as a courageous woman who hates corruption. She was the one who first exposed state capture and called for an investigation.
“She is known as a principled person who is a hard worker. She is going to bring a lot of experience to the ACDP that we are grateful for,” he said.
He said that because the party lists for the IEC were already closed, Mentor would have to wait for a year before she could be considered for a possible position as a member of parliament. For the present she would be responsible for training and would head up the research department,” he said.