JOHANNESBURG - Although she had never met former president Jacob Zuma's aide Lakela Kaunda, former ANC member of Parliament (MP) Vytjie Mentor said on Tuesday she communicated with her eight years ago, and Kaunda called her inviting her to Johannesburg to finally meet Zuma.
Kaunda has denied ever communicating with Mentor in 2010, and has requested the state capture commission of inquiry to allow her to cross-examine Mentor through her legal representative.
The former African National Congress (ANC) MP said she met with ANC officials twice at the party's head office, Luthuli House, to try and secure a meeting with Zuma and discuss the country's PBMR (pebble-bed modular reactor) as South Africa was working on its own version. Mentor raised concerns about the intellectual property ownership of the new design at the time.
She said she was told by then ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and his deputy Jessie Duarte at one of the Luthuli House meetings to try to contact the Presidency, and that the two gave her Kaunda's phone number.
Mentor also confirmed her statement to former public protector Thuli Madonsela that Kaunda called her to confirm that a meeting with Zuma had been arranged for her the following day.
She added that Kaunda relied on a "corrupted" typed version of her statement to the police, which differed with her own hand-written one.
She spent two years to seek the original hand-written statement from police with no luck, the statement was finally secured through the intervention of the commission, said Mentor
Commission chairman deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo asked Mentor if she was certain that it was Kaunda who called her and not someone else from the Presidency.
Mentor replied: "I am certain Kaunda is the one that called me on Sunday, before the Monday morning on which I took the flight [to Johannesburg to meet with Zuma]. Miss Kaunda relied on the corrupted version by Mr Mtolo [a police official], I had been denied all the time a right to my own document," said Mentor.
"In my transcript with the public protector I called miss Kaunda by name. We had texted each other before the day she called me discussing the meeting I sought with Zuma. So I knew her through our communication at the time."