News24

Duarte resignation link denied

2010-04-29 09:08

Johannesburg - The deputy director general in the Presidency, Lakela Kaunda, on Wednesday dismissed reports linking her to Jessie Duarte's resignation as "grossly incorrect" and "unfortunate".

"I have never had a quarrel with Ms Jessie Duarte," said Kaunda, following reports on Wednesday linking her to Duarte's resignation as chief operating officer of the Presidency.

"I have always had a wonderful working relationship with her both at Luthuli House and the Presidency, and I will continue working with her in her new posting," she said.

"She has always been supportive in my work and I value her guidance. After the publication of reports about an email that she wrote complaining about difficulties at work, which had mentioned my name, I discussed with her out of shock and concern, and she assured me that I was not the target or person she had referred to in her email."

Pursue other interests

Duarte's resignation was announced on Wednesday.

"She will leave her position at the end of May 2010 to pursue other interests and give more time to her political work for the African National Congress," the Presidency said in a statement.

The ANC national executive committee member and former spokesperson in the statement said her decision to resign was a "difficult" one.

"However, I have discussed this with my political principals and am leaving with their blessing," Duarte said.

In February, it was reported that Duarte wrote an "emotional email" to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, citing a "smear" campaign, "gossip" and "vilification" as reasons for intending to leave.

The report said Duarte intended to resign over disputes with top aide to President Jacob Zuma and deputy director general in the presidency, Lakela Kaunda, among others.

Kaunda describe reports linking her to Duarte's resignation as "fictional and mischievous."