Defend Truth


Mapisa-Nqakula graft prosecution — ID ‘surprised’ by speaker’s urgent interdict, discovery application

Mapisa-Nqakula graft prosecution — ID ‘surprised’ by speaker’s urgent interdict, discovery application
Commissioner Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula during interviews for South Africa's next Chief Justice at Park Hotel in Sandton on 4 February 2022. (Photo: Gallo Images / Daily Maverick / Felix Dlangamandla)

The Investigating Directorate decided to prosecute Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, on ‘special leave’ as speaker of the National Assembly, but her interdict and discovery application was a ‘surprise’, according to court papers before the Gauteng Division of the High Court in Pretoria where the matter is set to be heard on Monday afternoon. The high court will deliver a ruling on 2 April.

By 10 March, the decision was taken to prosecute Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the former defence minister turned National Assembly speaker now on special leave, over claims she solicited bribes from a defence contractor between 2017 and 2019 while she was defence minister.

“The investigation in her matter is complete so much that on 10 March 2024, a decision to prosecute her was made. The fact that a search-and-seizure was effected on 19 March 2024 does not mean that the investigation is incomplete,” said Investigating Directorate (ID) deputy director of public prosecutions Bheki Manyathi in his court papers. “I reiterate that the investigation is complete.”

The 12 corruption counts totalling “gratification” of R4,550,000 emerge later in the affidavit, which also outlines the 19 March search-and-seizure operation at Mapsia-Nqakula’s Johannesburg home that put the public spotlight on this bribery claim saga. During that search, documents relating to renovation at the home she shares with husband Charles Nqakula, a safety and security minister turned presidential national security adviser, were also seized. 

In his affidavit Manyathi expressed “surprise” at Mapisa-Nqakula’s interdict and discovery application because engagements about her handing herself over were still ongoing and she’d been assured bail would not be opposed – and dismissed the need for urgency. 

“An arrest alone cannot create urgency. This is particularly the case where there is no apprehension of detention,” he said, adding later: “(Mapisa-Nqakula) does not have a right not to be arrested. No such right exists in law. The case against the applicant is strong…”

In her application on Friday, Mapisa-Nqakula claimed irregularities in the investigation and by investigators.

“I have devoted the majority of my adult life to the pursuit of the rule of law and constitutional democracy, and the demise of the security state in South Africa. The machinery of the criminal justice system and the state’s prerogative of prosecution was abused and used as a political tool then. I verily fear that this practice has once again reared its ugly head and, if not stopped, carries the real risk of further fraying the constitutional fabric of our young democracy,” it reads.

Manyathi’s affidavit on Monday denied irregularities and that the ID had undermined Mapisa-Nqakula’s dignity and good reputation.

“Any threat to these rights, which is denied, is mitigated by the fact that we have extended the courtesy to her to present herself in the accompany [sic] of her legal representative. I have stated that we would like to make the process as seamless as possible.”

Her claim to get the State’s whole case was misplaced and premature because once this matter was enrolled, a court may well rule that she must receive all documents, said the deputy director of public prosecutions.

“(S)he is complicating what would otherwise have been a simple, seamless process of meeting her at the police station, charging her, taking her to court in her own or her attorney’s motor vehicle, appear in court immediately and be granted bail unopposed.”

Manyathi’s affidavit highlights that key details such as the handing over to police and prosecution in the corruption case against Mapisa-Nqakula were leaked, although not by whom. Speculation had been rife since the ID raid on her Johannesburg home, but leaks of her arrest escalated the rumours.

Mapisa-Nqakula maintained throughout that she’d done no wrong and pledged full cooperation with law enforcement agencies. By Thursday she had announced that she would step aside pending the investigation and legal proceedings.

“Given the seriousness of the allegations and the attendant extensive media speculation, I have decided to take special leave from my position as speaker of the National Assembly, effective immediately… This decision by myself is meant to protect the integrity of Parliament and ensure its sacred duty and its name continue unblemished,” said Mapisa-Nqakula just more than two weeks after she, on 4 March, denied the corruption claims as reported by the Sunday Times

At Parliament this week the political drama plays out – or is stopped by interpretation of rules as the clock runs down to Thursday when the National Assembly rises for elections, although it remains competent and can be recalled any time until 21 May, the day before the current set of parliamentarians were sworn in in 2019.

But the DA’s motion of no confidence against Mapisa-Nqakula has not been scheduled in the updated parliamentary calendar, nor is there any indication whether the ethics committee has finalised its deliberation on the ethics complaint against her in relation to the defence-related corruption claims. 

Without an ethics report adopted in the House, all outstanding matters lapse by the end of the parliamentary term. Put simply, if the no confidence motion and ethics complaint are not finalised by Thursday, they simply fall away. It is unlikely that a new post-29 May Parliament will revive these since Mapisa-Nqakula is not on the governing ANC’s election candidates lists and will not return to domestic public life.

It may well be that a kind of long game is being played – it would ensure that a political pickle for Parliament would go away. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Grenville Wilson says:

    I’m not going to hold my breath while awaiting a positive outcome in the fight against corruption on this one! The best case scenario is probably, the lady goes to court and the NPA lose! Methinks!

  • Rae Earl says:

    Has this woman confronted her accuser and if so why the silence? Usually when facing corruption charges these ANC comrades are very quick to shout about defamation litigation. Maybe the accuser would react by giving answers which would be picked up by the media and place Nqakula-Mapisa in some serious national spotlight? Her protests and thrashing about to avoid court procedures and possible arrest look pretty incriminating.

  • Garth Kruger says:

    What is “special leave”? Who approves it? Can anyone get it? Is it paid? How long does it last?

    Why is there “no apprehension of detention”? These are serious allegations that have been around for a long time. A friend of mine spent a night in the cells at Diepkloof after being arrested for speeding. How does this work?

    • Michael Thomlinson says:

      As far as I understand she cannot grant herself special leave – this needs to be granted by parliament. What she is trying to do is avoid loosing her lucrative salary while the drama plays out. If she is being charged, as the NPA says, then she should do the honorable thing and resign. But of course there is no honour amongst thieves.

      • Garth Kruger says:

        Thanks, Mike. I was puzzled on Friday when the story broke and she immediately announced the “special leave”… as if it was a given. Which it probably is. If you see how long it’s taking to get JZ into court for the arms fraud in the late 90s the taxpayer could theoretically be on the hook for her salary for the next two decades while she plays the system while we pick up her legal bills. Simply outrageous.

  • ST ST says:

    Trust the ANC to make a mockery of the once legitimate post 1984 restorative goals. Yes the law was abused as a tool against blacks and freedom fighters. That loosening of the laws was not for you up there to take advantage of. It’s bad enough that street criminals do so. Crying foul

  • Art Gee says:

    Some pigs are more equal than others – George Orwell, Animal Farm!!

  • Guy Bury says:

    I understand that, we the taxpayer, will fund her defence. The question is, if she looses her trial for theft/ corruption, will she have to pay that money back?

  • Guy Bury says:

    I understand that, we the taxpayer, will fund her defence. The question is, if she looses her trial for theft/ corruption, will she have to pay that money back?

  • Rory Macnamara says:

    The lady protests too much! just sick and tired of these ANCer fat cats. let the law follow its course as for her reputation she screwed that up running Defence portfolio.
    Hope the NPA wins this one. Can’t wait for Zapiro’s cartoon on this beaut!

  • Flapster Karos says:

    Speaker it’s simple. Did you take money from a 3rd party while knowing that you are not entitled to it. Let me rephrase: did you take money from the people you swore to protect.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    So one way or other she is gone from Parliament……No one will regard her any more or less than they do now.

  • Andre Swart says:

    She is with Zuma’s MK?

  • Lynda Tyrer says:

    She took the bribes so what is she jumping up and down about ?

  • Steve Davidson says:

    (1) Shouldn’t that be ‘special leave’? That is, it’s a load of rubbish
    (2) ““I have devoted the majority of my adult life to the pursuit of the rule of law and constitutional democracy, and the demise of the security state in South Africa.” Oh really, these people come out with the same old cr*p every time. How about adding “.. and the rise of the Kleptocratic State in South Africa?!

  • Paul Alberts says:

    Now if only some dirt can be found on Pandoras doos, it will be like winning the world cup all over again.

  • Fuad XXX says:

    Madam, quite simple really, did you or did you not take the money?

  • Acwam 58 says:

    Early Stalingrad antics, methinks.
    Special leave? Is it maternity or sick leave. Methinks not.

  • Willy Patrick says:

    Taking a leaf out of the Trump Legal playbook

  • Gerrit Marais says:

    Has any of these miscreants ever admitted, ’Sorry, you caught me, I am guilty’? Always some third force. Scrubbing some prison floors will bring her back to earth.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options