Mapisa-Nqakula hands herself over to police after resigning as Speaker and Member of Parliament

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Former Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has handed herself in to the police, a day after announcing her resignation as Speaker of the National Assembly, and a Member of Parliament.

This came days after she lost a Gauteng High Court bid to interdict her arrest over corruption allegations totalling up to R4.55 million, dating back to her days as defence minister. The court struck her second urgent bid to interdict her arrest from the roll, with costs.

In her resignation letter, Mapisa-Nqakula said that, “given the seriousness of the much-publicised allegations against me, I cannot continue in this role. As a country’s chief lawmaker, I hold a central responsibility to protect and preserve the integrity of Parliament by ensuring that my actions ensure that its sacred work must continue without blemish. I believe that, at the right time, I will have the opportunity to thoroughly address these allegations as and when they have been formally brought against me in the appropriate forums, at which time I will clear my good name. I maintain my innocence and am determined to restore my good reputation.”

She added that her resignation was in no way an indication or admission of guilt regarding the allegations being levelled against her.

The State alleges that while she served as defence minister, Mapisa-Nqakula received at least R2.3 million in bribes between 2017 and 2019 from defence contractor Nombasa Ndhlovu, who has now turned State witness. Ndhlovu alleges the bribes were paid to secure contracts for her company Umkhombe Marine. Most of the contracts were for logistics to support the continental deployment of SA National Defence Force (SANDF) troops, and amounted to over R200 million.

Mapisa-Nqakula handed herself in to the Lyttelton Police Station in Tshwane early on Thursday morning and is expected to make her first court appearance today (4 April).

The African National Congress confirmed receipt of Mapisa-Nqakula’s resignation letter, in which she “highlighted her intention to protect the reputation of our organisation, the African National Congress, after dedicating more than 30 years of service,” the party said in a statement.

Democratic Alliance (DA) Chief Whip Siviwe Gwarube welcomed Mapisa-Nqakula’s resignation and said “we have long called for this resignation when allegations of corruption and money laundering were levelled against her. We believe that anyone who holds this high office should be beyond reproach; and Ms Mapisa-Nqakula is not suited for it.”

The Inkatha Freedom Party’s Mkhuleko Hlengwa said Mapisa-Nqakula’s resignation “is a responsible decision by Mrs Mapisa-Nqakula as it allows her to focus on her legal matters without dragging Parliament along any further.”

Meanwhile, Ndhlovu’s husband, Major General Noel Ndhlovu, has returned to work after being suspended for three years while his wife was being investigated for fraud and corruption. No charges have been laid against him. He was instructed to report for duty on 1 April.