South Africa: Speaker of Parliament arrested for corruption

South Africa: Speaker of Parliament arrested for corruption

The day after her resignation, the President of the National Assembly of South Africa, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, was arrested this Thursday by the police. Justice accuses her of having accepted more than 100,000 euros in bribes between 2016 and 2019, when she was Minister of Defense.

A few days before the legislative elections scheduled for May 29, the African National Congress (ANC), the party in power since the end of apartheid, finds itself at the heart of a scandal. Mapisa-Nqakula, speaker of parliament since 2021 and influential member of the party's National Executive Committee (NEC), was arrested as part of a corruption investigation relating to facts dating back to her ministerial mandate in Defense.

She is due to appear before a court in Pretoria » said Henry Mamothame, spokesperson for the South African National Prosecuting Authority, confirming Ms Mapisa-Nqakula's arrest early this morning.

His arrest comes the day after his resignation from the presidency of the National Assembly. In her resignation letter seen by AFP, she explained: “ Given the seriousness of the high-profile accusations against me, I cannot continue in this position » in Parliament. She has decided to step down from her duties to preserve the integrity of the institution and focus on the ongoing investigation.

Mapisa-Nqakula is accused of receiving large sums of money from a military contractor during her tenure as Defense Minister (2014-2021). According to local media, she received 2.3 million rands (121,000 dollars, 113,000 euros) in bribes to favor a company in the award of a contract.

The case came to light last March when a search was carried out by a team of investigators at the upscale Mapisa-Nqakula residence, located in the eastern suburbs of Johannesburg. At that time, she had filed an emergency appeal to try to avoid an arrest that she considered “illegal” in view of the “thin” evidence gathered against her. This appeal was rejected on Tuesday by the courts, paving the way for a possible arrest of this major figure of the ruling party.