02 April 2024

South Africa’s parliamentary speaker faces imminent arrest on corruption charges

02 April 2024

South Africa’s parliamentary speaker faces imminent arrest over corruption charges after a court dismissed her bid to block police and prosecutors from arresting her.

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who is a senior member of the ruling African National Congress party, is accused of receiving bribes from a defence contractor while she was defence minister.

According to prosecutors, she received 11 payments totalling 135,000 US dollars (£107,000) between December 2016 and July 2019. She sought another bribe of 105,000 dollars (£83,500) but that wasn’t paid, prosecutors said.

Opposition lawmakers have called for her to step down from her position as speaker over the allegations.

Mapisa-Nqakula launched an urgent court bid to block her arrest last week, but a judge at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria dismissed her application on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters after the judgment, National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga did not say when the arrest would be made but confirmed the judgement paved the way for it to occur.

“Obviously the wheels of justice will now be in motion, as we were listening to the judgment, which was well reasoned,” Mr Mhaga said.

“We have always maintained that this is unprecedented and it was unnecessary for us to be brought to court. We have always maintained that the process of arrest will be done seamlessly,” he added.

Before launching her court bid, Mapisa-Nqakula was told by prosecutors she should turn herself in to authorities for processing and to appear before a judge.

Mapisa-Nqakula is the latest African National Congress leader to face corruption allegations as the party prepares to fight tough national elections this year.

Recent polls suggest the party could receive less than 50% of electoral support for the first since time it came into power in 1994.

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