• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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The powerful South African Parliamentary Speaker’s Home Raided in corruption Probe

The powerful South African Parliamentary Speaker’s Home Raided in corruption Probe

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the speaker of South Africa’s National Assembly, had her residence raided on Tuesday as part of a corruption investigation ordered by the National Prosecution Authority, parliament said.

The raid at her house in Johannesburg’s eastern suburb of Bruma drew a call from the official opposition, the Democratic Alliance, for her to step down. Earlier this month the Sunday Times, which is based in the city, reported that she solicited 2.3 million rand ($122,000) in bribes from a contractor while she was defense minister, citing the contractor.

“The speaker steadfastly upholds her strong conviction of innocence, and reaffirms that she has nothing to hide,” parliament said in a statement. “She has welcomed investigators into her home, cooperating fully during the extensive search that lasted over five hours.”

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The raid is a headache for President Cyril Ramaphosa just over two months before national elections with the ruling African National Congress dogged by allegations of corruption.
The president has previously sanctioned Mapisa-Nqakula for allowing ANC officials to use a military jet. In 2016, the Sunday Times reported that the minister used an air force plane to transport a Burundian woman from the Democratic Republic of Congo to South Africa and helped her enter the country illegally. She denied any wrongdoing.

She also came under fire as defense minister along with the the heads of South Africa’s other security ministries for their response to an outbreak of rioting in 2021 that claimed 354 lives and saw thousands of businesses looted. She initially contradicted Ramaphosa’s assertion that the unrest amounted to an insurrection, but later backtracked.

She became speaker in 2021 after serving as defense minister for seven years. She has also held the ministerial posts for home affairs and prisons.