STATE CAPTURE INQUIRY

Whistleblower names top Zuma aide as Gupta ‘fixer’

Lakela Kaunda disputes she arranged Saxonwold meeting, with Zuma in the room next door, as claimed by Vytjie Mentor in state capture probe

21 August 2018 - 06:10 By Ranjeni Munusamy
Jacob Zuma with Lakela Kaunda, chief operations officer in the Presidency and one of his most trusted advisers.
Jacob Zuma with Lakela Kaunda, chief operations officer in the Presidency and one of his most trusted advisers.
Image: Robert Botha

Jacob Zuma’s former trusted and powerful adviser Lakela Kaunda is being accused of facilitating a meeting between state capture whistleblower Vytjie Mentor and the infamous Gupta family.

In a statement submitted to the Zondo State Capture Inquiry, for the first time Mentor names Kaunda as the person who allegedly called her in 2010 to arrange the meeting with the family at their Saxonwold compound.

Kaunda, who previously served as the former president’s chief of staff and spokesperson, is contesting Mentor’s claim. She has a legal team representing her at the commission, which kicked off in Johannesburg on Monday,  after being informed that she was implicated in the state capture scandal.

Mentor allegedly claims in her statement to the commission, which is chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that Kaunda phoned her to summon her to a meeting. She says she then made the trip from Cape Town to Johannesburg in the belief that her meeting was with Zuma.

Kaunda’s legal team intends to submit to the commission that this claim is false because she has never spoken to Mentor or arranged the meeting.

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