National Assembly Speaker to travel overseas despite arrest reports

Speaker of Parliament Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. Picture: Phando Jikelo Independent Newspapers

Speaker of Parliament Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. Picture: Phando Jikelo Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 21, 2024


National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is set to jet off to Switzerland despite reports that she would be handing herself over to the SAPS in Pretoria on Friday.

Parliament said yesterday Mapisa-Nqakula was to lead a delegation of senior officials from Parliament and will be out of the country for a few days.

The meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) will start on March 23 and ends on March 27.

The DA said it welcomed reports that the Speaker was facing imminent arrest.

DA chief whip Siviwe Gwarube said law enforcement agencies must act swiftly against her.

But Parliament said Mapisa-Nqakula will be joined by deputy chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Sylvia Lucas, Secretary to Parliament Xolile George, and NCOP chief whip Seiso Mohai on the trip to Europe.

Members of some parties will also be part of the delegation.

“The parliamentary delegation will participate in various meetings of the standing committees and related meetings, including a meeting on March 22 of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Africa Geopolitical Group. Members of the delegation will also participate in the peace and international security, sustainable development democracy and human rights, and United Nations Affairs Committees,” said Parliament.

Mapisa-Nqakula will also participate in a session on the conflict resolution in Ukraine.

“Other scheduled meetings include those of various IPU parliamentary bodies on conflict situations such as the IPU task force for the peaceful resolution of the war in Ukraine, which will be addressed by the parliamentarians from both the Russian Federation and Ukraine separately.

“The task force, whose objective is to explore parliamentary contributions to efforts to end the war, is made up of eight prominent parliamentarians from around the world. It also acts as a shuttle for information exchange between the two parliaments. Speaker Mapisa-Nqakula is a member of the task force,” said Parliament.

The parliamentarians will also discuss the conflict in Gaza and other parts of the world.

This comes after the Investigating Directorates (ID) conducted a search and seizure operation at her house in Bruma, Johannesburg, on Tuesday. She has been implicated in an investigation into her alleged involvement in corruption way back when she was still military veterans and defence minister.

Mapisa-Nqakula has maintained her innocence and distanced herself from partaking in any wrongdoing, saying that she has nothing to hide.

Earlier this month, there were widespread reports that she was being investigated in connection with allegations that she was paid millions in cash bribes by a defence force contractor during her tenure as defence minister.

Reports also revealed that a high-level investigation had been instituted into the accusations that Mapisa-Nqakula solicited and was paid up to R2.3 million in cash.

Furthermore, it was revealed that she allegedly received gift bags by a defence industry businesswoman named Nombasa Ntsondwa-Ndhlovu, who was a wife of a general in the military health service.

Prior to the ID’s search and seizure, Mapisa-Nqakula told reporters that when she was questioned about the allegations she was taken aback as they posed a great threat to the principles of democracy and good governance.

Meanwhile, a source known to The Star said some of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) members were of the view that President Cyril Ramaphosa was dealing with Mapisa-Nqakula for the 2021 July unrest.

According to the source, this was done because Ramaphosa believed that Mapisa-Nqakula was too sympathetic and loyal to former president Jacob Zuma.

”As things are, at the moment all is not well in the NEC. There’s a lot of mistrust amongst us. Some of us are even questioning why our so-called ‘independent’ law enforcement agencies are not investigating some of the comrades who are close to the president and yet there were allegations of fraud and corruption against them,” the source said.

He further said some of the members were ready to ditch the ANC as they were also not happy with the form the party was adopting.

“Some of our comrades want to go join the president Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe Party and African Congress for Transformation Movement, but they are just waiting for the right time,” the source added.

Attempts to get comment from the ANC were unsuccessful at the time of publication.

The Star

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