News24

Sunday Times stands by Duarte story

2010-02-28 19:06

Johannesburg - The Sunday Times stands by its story that Jessie Duarte intends to resign from her presidency position as chief operations officer, the newspaper said on Sunday afternoon.

"The story is definitely true. She wrote the letter herself," said editor, Mondli Makhanya, about an e-mail sent by Duarte to ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe announcing her intended resignation.

"The newspaper did not say she had already resigned," Makhanya said.

Duarte on Sunday denied her resignation to Eyewitness News, but nothing was reported about the e-mail she sent to Mantashe.

"The letter is not in dispute. She must explain what she meant in the letter rather than playing on semantics," Makhanya said.

Duarte tried to keep the newspaper from publishing the story when she was contacted for comment, said Makhanya.

Private correspondence

"She said the e-mail was private correspondence," he said.

The Sunday Times reported that Duarte intended to resign over disputes with top Zuma aide and deputy director general in the presidency, Lakela Kaunda, among others.

"Obviously [Duarte and the Presidency] are denying it because the in-fighting doesn't reflect well on the presidency," Makhanya said.

Meanwhile, the presidency said Duarte would be acting director general this week in the absence of Vusi Mavimbela, who is accompanying President Jacob Zuma's delegation to the United Kingdom.

It also denied that there was tension between Duarte and Kaunda.

"They work well together and support each other positively and constructively," said presidential spokesperson Vusi Mona in a statement.

"Any reports to the contrary are complete fabrications."

Mona further told Sapa that the report was meant to create suspicion and mistrust.

Both Duarte and Kaunda were unavailable for comment.

Sapa earlier reported that Duarte had resigned.