/ 19 March 2024

Speaker’s home raided in corruption investigation

Mama Winnie Mandela Laid To Rest In South Africa
Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. (Photo by Gallo Images / Frennie Shivambu)

The Investigating Directorate (ID) on Tuesday confirmed that it had raided the Johannesburg home of the speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, as part of an ongoing corruption investigation.

“The National Prosecuting Authority’s ID confirms that a search and seizure operation was carried out at the home of the speaker of parliament, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, by members of the ID on 19 March 2024 relating to an investigation against her,” NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said.

The ID has for months been investigating corruption allegations against Mapisa-Nqakula, while she was serving as minister of defence, including that she accepted large sums of cash from the owner of Umkhombe Marine, a company that was contracted by the South African National Defence Force to transport cargo for military missions. 

According to reports, she is suspected of taking more than R2 million from Umkhombe Marine’s chief executive, Nombasa Ntsondwa-Ndhlovu, who is married to a general in the military health service. 

Parliament on Tuesday afternoon issued a separate statement regarding the raid, saying the speaker had cooperated with the officers who searched her private home.

“The speaker steadfastly upholds her strong conviction of innocence, and reaffirms that she has nothing to hide. In line with this, she has welcomed investigators into her home, cooperating fully during the extensive search that lasted over five hours.”

It said that she would not be able to preside over the afternoon sitting of the National Assembly, where President Cyril Ramaphosa was answering questions from MPs.

Mapisa-Nqakula two weeks ago strenuously denied any wrongdoing and criticised the ID’s handling of the investigation.

“The speaker believes investigations of this nature ought to be conducted with the utmost diligence and respect for due process, and accordingly, finds the manner in which this purported investigation has been conducted and shared with the media highly objectionable,” her office said after the Sunday press reported on the investigation.

It added that she was deeply concerned about the allegations, “including a purported affidavit by one of the department’s former service providers”, an apparent reference to Ntsondwa-Ndhlovu.

The chief whip of the Democratic Alliance, Siviwe Gwarube, earlier this month called for parliament’s joint committee on ethics and members’ interests to investigate the allegations. 

Gwarube said the corruption allegations against the speaker threatened the credibility of parliament and its ability to hold the executive to account.

On Tuesday afternoon, Gwarube called for Mapisa-Nqakula’s resignation.

“To retain public trust in the institution, Mapisa-Nqakula must step down. She cannot be entrusted with this high office,” she said.

Mapisa-Nqakula was appointed defence minister in 2012 by then president Jacob Zuma and held the position until 2021.