Speaker at home; ‘shocked’ by reports of arrest


The Speaker of Parliament, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and her family are at home and “had no discussion with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) investigative directorate after a search and seizure operation” was carried out at her home on Thursday.

According to a statement from parliament, the speaker was “shocked” by reports of her arrest and the ongoing media hearing to which she is being subjected.

“The country woke up this morning to a media frenzy and news that the speaker… had been arrested or handed herself over to the police in connection with the NPA’s investigation against her,” the statement said.

The reports were labeled as “untrue” and a “fabrication”.

RNews reported earlier that the speaker has now submitted an urgent court application in which she disputes the manner in which the warrant for the search and seizure operation was obtained, as well as the operation itself. This step has been confirmed.

“She also demands, within her rights, that she be given full access to all material information relating to the case. It includes the full dossier, so she can prepare her defense against what she considers to be baseless allegations against her.

“In the court documents, the speaker appeals to the NPA to expose the details of the case against her because it has apparently already been given to the media. It subjects her to a trial by the media, with no way to defend herself against these public allegations and reject them.”

Meanwhile, Mapisa-Nqakula is still on special leave while she prepares to defend herself against the “allegations and flagrant and impunity violation of her good name”.

“The speaker’s legal team will disclose any developments in the case to members of the public and the media.”

‘Rot’ in military runs deep

A storm rages around Mapisa-Nqakula’s head after the DA earlier lodged a complaint against her with the parliament’s joint committee on ethics and members’ interests. The complaint stems from a statement that the owner of Umkhone Marine submitted to the independent investigation directorate (ID). The company provides cargo transportation services for the military.

Businesswoman Nomba Ntsondwa-Ndhlovu has reportedly claimed that between November 2016 and July 2019 she paid up to R2.3 million in cash to Mapisa-Nqakula, then the Minister of Defense and Military Veterans.

Mapisa-Nqakula was elected parliamentary speaker in August 2021 and Thandi Modise succeeded her as defense minister.

However, Mapisa-Nqakula was already involved in allegations that a defense contractor paid bribes to her and that she blew R7 million on chartered flights and expensive hotels. Parliament’s standing committee on defense appointed a team later that same year to investigate these allegations.

Dr. Pieter Groenewald, FF Plus leader, says the action against Mapisa-Nqakula shows how “deep the rot runs in the army” and welcomes the action after allegations that the speaker was bribed with “gifts” from army contractors while she was minister of defence.

“The party hopes that the matter will be settled quickly so that justice can be done.”

Groenewald says the action will hopefully also put an end to “the ANC’s practice over almost three decades of using the army as its own piggy bank and deploying cadres at the highest level”.

It started with the weapons scandal and later even Denel was stripped to the bone.

“In addition, there have been continuous cuts to the army budget to a level where the country’s ability to defend itself is seriously questioned and its arms industry has been practically destroyed.

“Parliament has heard several times over the past years that urgent interventions are needed to give the country a limited defense capability again.

“Mapisa-Nqakula was the minister of defense and military veterans at the time of the great decline and decay,” says Groenewald.

Some of the scandals that came to light while she was defense minister included the controversial Gupta landing at the Waterkloof air force base, the use of an air force plane to take ANC members to Harare and the gaps in the army that were clearly turned out with the unrest in 2021, he says.

“Already in 2021, whistleblowers came forward with allegations that Mapisa-Nqakula received millions of rands from army contractors.

“That was widely reported in the media and she denied it throughout.”