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Charges laid against Defence Minister over illegal Burundian refugee

Charges laid against Defence Minister over illegal Burundian refugee

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has confirmed the laying of charges against Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, after she confessed to transporting a Burundian woman on-board a South African National Defence Force (SANDF) plane illegally two years ago.

Earlier this week, Mapisa-Nqakula admitted to claims to by the Sunday Times last week that she flew then 22-year old Michelle Wege to South Africa in January 2014, in an attempt to remove her from an abusive family life.

“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”, Mapisa-Nqakula said, adding she would not hesitant in doing it again.

The paper however alleged that Wege had plans to marry the minister’s son, Chumani, before he was killed by a friend in October last year, and that her father blamed souring business relations with Mapisa-Nqakula as the reasons for her citing abuse claims.

“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,” Laurent Wege told the paper.

In a statement, DA Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Kobus Marais said although Mapisa-Nqakula might have acted on good intensions, it does not deter from the fact she broke the law by bringing Wege into the country illegally.

“The Minister had other more diplomatic options available to her and in choosing to break the law over using these other remedies, she also broke her oath to uphold the Rule of Law and the Constitution she serves,” Marais said.

“The absolute disregard with which ANC ministers treat the law as well as their oath of office, is a slap in the face of our democratic dispensation”.

Mapisa-Nqakula’s office has meanwhile said she welcomes the investigation into her conduct, and that she is prepared to go to court “in the interest of my responsibility and duty to be accountable to the people of South Africa”.