Speaker of the National Assembly Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula steps aside with immediate effect

 ·21 Mar 2024

Speaker of the National Assembly Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says she will take “special leave” from her position amid allegations of corruption against her and media speculation that she will be arrested.

Responding to a Mail & Guardian report on Thursday (21 March) stating that the speaker would hand herself over to police on Friday, Mapisa-Nqakula issued a statement addressing the claims.

“I wish to place it on record, that while the Investigative Directorate of the National Prosecution Authority conducted a search and seizure at my residence, there has been no formal notification of an arrest warrant or communication regarding an imminent arrest for me, neither to me nor my legal team.

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

“I hold the utmost respect for our legislative system and the laws of our nation, some of which I have been privileged to pass. I assure the nation of my willingness to cooperate fully with law enforcement agencies on any matter that may arise.”

However, given the seriousness of the allegations and the “attendant extensive media speculation”, Mapisa-Nqakula said she decided to take special leave from her position as Speaker of the National Assembly, effective immediately.

“This decision has been communicated to the Secretary of Parliament and to the President of the Republic in his capacity as Head of State,” she said.

“This decision by myself is meant to protect the integrity of Parliament and ensure its sacred duty and its name continue unblemished.”

Earlier this week, the speaker’s home was raided as part of a corruption investigation ordered by the National Prosecution Authority.

Mapisa-Nqakula has been accused of soliciting R2.3 million in bribes from contractors while she was minister of defence, with reports from the Sunday Times making the allegations public earlier in the month, citing the contractor.

The speaker said she had nothing to hide and welcomed the raid, saying she would cooperate with the authorities.

The news of her imminent arrest came on the same day that Parliament announced that Mapisa-Nqakula would be leading a delegation to an Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

She will no longer be attending this, she said.

Read: The Speaker of the National Assembly’s home raided

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