• World - Africa
  • Updated: April 04, 2024

Former South African Parliament Speaker arrested over corruption allegations

Former South African Parliament Speaker arrested over corrup

Former Speaker of the South African Parliament, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has been arrested over corruption allegations, the country's prosecutors say.

Mapisa-Nqakula was arrested on Thursday morning as part of a graft inquiry, which is the latest scandal to hit the governing African National Congress (ANC) ahead of elections coming up in May.

The 67-year-old is accused of soliciting hefty amounts in bribes from a former military contractor during her previous tenure as defence minister, allegations she has firmly denied. 

Mapisa-Nqakula, who resigned as Speaker on Wednesday, according to media reports, was formally arrested and detained after handing herself to the police near Pretoria.

In the resignation letter, she maintained her innocence but said she had decided to step down to uphold the integrity of parliament and focus on the investigation against her.

“Given the seriousness of the much-publicised allegations against me, I cannot continue in this role,” she wrote.

"The veteran politician was due to appear before a judge and be formally charged with corruption and money laundering. She’s appearing at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court," a spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Henry Mamothame, told journalists after her arrest. 

Mapisa-Nqakula's arrest, coming two months before national elections, according to political analysts in the country, has added to the woes of the ruling ANC which is struggling to maintain a balance in opinion polls amid a weak economy and accusations of official graft and mismanagement.

Mapisa-Nqakula is the latest in a string of senior ANC politicians, including the president and vice president, to be embroiled in corruption scandals.

The arrest of the former Parliament Speaker follows a raid carried out by members of a top investigative team at her residence in March.

Mapisa-Nqakula had served as defence minister between 2014 and 2021 before being appointed Speaker in a move that drew much criticism from the opposition and had constantly come under fire for her perceived incompetence in responding to a spate of deadly unrest that saw more than 300 people killed.

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