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South African parliament speaker takes special leave over corruption inquiry

South African parliament speaker takes special leave over corruption inquiry

South Africa‘s National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said on Thursday that she will take special leave as a result of an investigation into alleged corruption during her time as defence minister.

Investigators raided Mapisa-Nqakula home on Tuesday as part of the corruption inquiry, but did not provide further details on the investigation or the corruption allegations.

Mapisa-Nqakula, who was defence minister from 2012 to 2021, has denied wrongdoing.

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“Given the seriousness of the allegations and the attendant extensive media speculation, I have decided to take special leave from my position as Speaker of the National Assembly, effective immediately,” Mapisa-Nqakula said in a statement.

She said there has been no formal notification of an arrest warrant or communication regarding her imminent arrest, following local media reports that she was expected to hand herself over to police on Friday.

“My lawyers have, however, proactively informed the National Prosecution Authority of my readiness to comply and cooperate should the need arise,” she said.

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South Africa’s state-owned broadcaster SABC reported that Mapisa-Nqakula is suspected of receiving millions of rand in cash as bribes from a former military contractor when she was defence minister.

Who is Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

She served as the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans in South Africa from June 2012 to August 2021. She is currently the Speaker of the National Assembly, a position she has held since August 2021. Mapisa-Nqakula has a long history of involvement in politics, starting from her time as an anti-apartheid activist to her various roles within the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African government.

Early Life and Anti-Apartheid Activism

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula was born on November 13, 1956, in Cape Town, South Africa. She grew up in the Eastern Cape and initially worked as a teacher before becoming involved in youth development. In 1984, she left South Africa with her husband Charles Nqakula to join the anti-apartheid movement in exile. During her time in exile, she underwent military training with Umkhonto we Sizwe in Angola and the Soviet Union. Mapisa-Nqakula returned to South Africa in 1990 after the unbanning of the ANC and played a significant role in rebuilding the party’s internal organization.

Political Career

Mapisa-Nqakula’s political career within the ANC accelerated during Thabo Mbeki’s presidency. She held various positions within the ANC Women’s League and later entered the National Assembly as an ANC candidate in the April 1994 general election. Over the years, she served in key roles such as Chairperson of Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence and Chief Whip of the Majority Party.

Ministerial Positions

After serving as Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula was appointed as Minister of Home Affairs following the 2004 general election. During her tenure, she introduced significant legislation such as the Civil Unions Act of 2006, which legalized same-sex marriage. Despite her efforts to improve management within the Department of Home Affairs, challenges persisted.

In June 2012, President Jacob Zuma appointed Mapisa-Nqakula as Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, a position she held until August 2021 under President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration. Her term was not without controversy, including an incident where she was reprimanded for using a South African Air Force jet to transport an ANC delegation to a party-political meeting.

 

With additional details from Reuters

Faruk Khalil
Faruk Khalilhttps://nigeriansketch.com/
Khalil Faruk (Deputy Editor-in-Chief), has a Bachelors and Master's degree in Political Science and has worked as a reporter, features editor and Deputy Editor-in-Chief respectively in a leading Nigerian daily. He has undergone trainings in journalism, photo journalism and online journalism within and outside Nigeria.

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