Minister’s transporting of Burundian woman being looked into as new allegations emerge

BY CHARL BOSCH - MAY 30, 2016

The Presidency has reportedly stated that allegations regarding the transporting of a Burundian woman on-board a South African National Defence Force (SANDF) plane by Defence and Military Veterans Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, is being looked into by President Jacob Zuma.

Last week, the Minister admitted to a report in the Sunday Times that she flew 22-year old Michelle Wege to South Africa in January 2014, in an apparent attempt to save from an abusive family life.

It also stated that Wege, who was arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for trying to board a South African Airways (SAA) plane on a fake passport, was picked-up by the SANDF plane when it made a reported scheduled stop in the capital Kinshasa on-route to an African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.

Mapisa-Nqakula however denied that the intent of the stopover was to fetch and bring Michelle back to South Africa, saying “there was nothing wrong in giving [her] a lift on the air force plane. My sole intention was to save her from abuse, and give her education and love”.

Meanwhile, the paper, citing Wege’s father, claimed she had plans to marry Mapisa-Nqakula’s son, Chumani, who was killed by a friend in Johannesburg in October last year. He also claimed that business relations with the Minister had gone array before disputing her claims of Michelle having been abused.

“Michelle confirmed to me that she was engaged to the minister's late son. And I confronted the minister about her secret marriage arrangements for my daughter to her son,” Laurent Wege said.

“It is very disappointing that such a powerful, influential politician will use government resources and blackmail for personal gain and has no remorse for her actions. I love my daughter dearly and have always worked hard to provide her with the best opportunities”.

Mapisa-Nqakula’s office has however refused to comment on the allegations, merely calling it a “calculated plan to destroy her reputation”.

In a statement, Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Kobus Marais said it would be submitting a request for the matter to be investigated by the office of the Public Protector.

“Minister Mapisa-Nqakula has, in true ANC form, misused her political standing to obtain favours from South African and international authorities, violated her Oath of Office, Executive Members Ethics Act, the Immigration Act, and the Defence Act for personal benefit,” Marias said.

“I will accordingly write to the Public Protector requesting that she launch an investigation into this matter. ANC government officials have for too long used the public coffers for personal enrichment, causing millions to suffer and bear the brunt of their recklessness”.