South African Parliament speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula resigns amid graft probe

Thursday April 04 2024

Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula presides over a parliament debate in Cape Town, South Africa on December 13, 2022. PHOTO | REUTERS


Embattled South Africa's National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula quit her job on Wednesday and surrendered to the police on Thursday morning, potentially ending a crisis for her party, the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

But her troubles are set to only start. On Thursday, she was expected to appear in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court in Pretoria on charges of corruption, linked to an over R4-million ($215,000) bribery allegation.

Mrs Mapisa-Nqakula arrived at the Lyttelton Police Station in Centurion, north of Johannesburg, on Thursday morning to hand herself over to police from the Investigating Directorate.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Henry Mamothame confirmed that Mrs Mapisa-Nqakula will make her first court appearance at the Pretoria court.

Read: SA parliament speaker takes special leave over graft probe

She is accused of soliciting more than R4 million in bribes in return for government tenders from a former defence department contractor.


The latter has become a witness for the prosecution.

In all likelihood, a senior member of ANC party, Mrs Mapisa-Nqakula could be charged with 12 counts of corruption and bribery related to her tenure as the minister of defence.

Due to the mounting pressure of the graft allegations, on Wednesday night, Mrs Mapisa-Nqakula stepped down from her position as speaker and Member of Parliament.

However, Mrs Mapisa-Nqakula made it clear that her resignation does not mean an admission of guilt in the corruption allegations brought against her. She maintains her innocence, stating that she is determined to restore her “good reputation”.

Mrs Mapisa-Nqakula’s resignation comes a day after a judge at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria dismissed her urgent application to block an arrest.

“I have made this conscious decision to dedicate my time and focus to deal with the recently announced investigation against me by our country's law enforcement agencies,” said Mrs Mapisa-Nqakula.

“My resignation is in no way an indication or admission of guilt regarding allegations being levelled against me. I have made this decision to uphold the integrity and sanctity of our parliament, an apex institution of our system of government, representing the people of South Africa as a whole.

“Given the seriousness of the much-publicised allegations against me, I cannot continue in this role. As the 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.”