Mapisa-Nqakula proclaims nothing to hide after NPA raid

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A National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) five-hour plus raid on the home of National Assembly (NA) Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, in the upmarket eastern Johannesburg suburb of Bruma yesterday (Tuesday, 19 March) seemingly in connection with alleged bribes of R2 million plus, has not deterred the former defence and military veterans minister from maintaining she has “nothing to hide”.

Mapisa-Nqakula used the Parliamentary Communication Service to “steadfastly uphold her strong conviction of innocence”, reaffirming she has nothing to hide and welcoming investigators who searched extensively.

The search comes in the wake of a Sunday Times report earlier this month linking her to bribery allegations in connection with multi-million Rand contracts to move SA National Defence Force (SANDF) equipment back to South Africa from Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The contracts, the weekly newspaper reported, were awarded to Umkhombe Marine, whose chief executive officer is Nombasa Ndhlovu, until late last year chair of the SA Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association (AMD).

Yesterday’s Parliament statement has it “the operation [the search] is linked to the agency’s widely publicised investigation into alleged corruption reportedly involving the Speaker’s tenure as Minister of Defence and Military Veterans”. Mapisa-Nqakula was the Cabinet Minister responsible for the defence and military veterans portfolios from June 2012 to August 2021.

On corruption the statement has it, it is “a significant threat to the principles of democracy and good governance, and fundamentally contradicts everything the Speaker represents adding she is “profoundly disturbed” by the allegations.

The NPA invasion of her home saw Mapisa-Nqakula unable to fulfil her Speaker duty for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s National Assembly question and answer session, the last before Parliament rises ahead of the 29 May national and provincial election.  Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli stood in for her.