President Jacob Zuma's spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga told HuffPost SA on Thursday he has not read former Member of Parliament Vytjie Mentor's book, and therefore cannot comment on allegations the president sexually harassed her.
At an event at the Cape Town Press Club on Thursday, the former chairperson of the public enterprises portfolio committee spoke about her new, self-published book titled "No Holy Cows". It is due to be available in stores on Friday at 6pm.
"It has not been published so I cannot comment on speculation until I have read the book," Ngqulunga said.
"Normally, when people make accusations about the president we check the book, this book is not even in bookstores so there is no comment."
Ngqulunga said the presidency was informed about the book's allegations.
"News24 did inform me about it and sent an excerpt, but I have not had a chance to read it," he said. He was on driving to KwaZulu-Natal at the time of the conversation.
At the event, Mentor said Zuma harassed her, which is detailed in her book.
"Zuma tried his luck on me on two occasions, he did not succeed. I dealt with him and carried on my work," she said.
She added: "He continued to prey on women, and maybe the regret was that I didn't expose him at the time. I cannot live with regret, hence I am doing this now".
"I hope it will give many women courage that it doesn't matter when you were harassed, if you want to speak about it, you have the right to, as long as you are not lying," she said.
Mentor said the book was the story of her life and her involvement in ANC politics.
This is not the first time Mentor has caused a stir. She made headlines in March 2016 after saying she was offered the post of public enterprises minister at the Gupta family's mansion. She posted the claim on Facebook, saying she was offered the position after Barbara Hogan was fired. She claimed Zuma was in an adjoining room at the time, and she rejected the offer.
She was the first ANC member to come forward with information about alleged state capture by Zuma and the controversial Gupta family. Hogan also said she believed Mentor, as she was also approached by the Guptas to have government drop SAA's route to India, she said.
Mentor has subsequently made a string of further allegations, not all of which have completely held up to scrutiny.
Below is a clip of the Cape Town event. The sexual harassment allegations are made at 47:30.Suggest a correction