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Past comes back to haunt Mapisa-Nqakula as speaker investigated for R2.3m bribes

The former defence minister says she is unaware of the investigation against her.

National Assembly Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has been accused of taking bribes totalling R2.3 million from an South African National Defence Force (SANDF) contractor when she was still the minister of defence.

Mapisa-Nqakula has reportedly been implicated in a sworn affidavit submitted to the Investigative Directorate (ID) by Nombasa Ntsondwa-Ndhlovu, the owner of Umkhombe Marine.

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The freight and logistics company reportedly scored R210 million SANDF tenders in 2019, while the businesswoman was married to the military health services’ deputy surgeon-general, Noel Ndhlovu.

The Sunday Times reported that Ntsondwa-Ndhlovu revealed in her affidavit that she gave bundles of cash to Mapisa-Mqakula on 10 occasions between November 2016 and July 2019.

Mapisa-Nqakula under investigation

The alleged bribes were allegedly facilitated by the late secretary of defence Sam Gulube, who summoned Ntsondwa-Ndhlovu to his home twice, according to the affidavit.

Umkhombe Marine transported SANDF cargo across the continent to military missions.  

Mapisa-Nqakula is now a subject of investigation over the alleged payments although ID head Andrea Johnson refused to comment about the matter.

READ MORE: Mapisa-Nqakula’s deployment ‘a bad swap’ with predecessor Thandi Modise

The National Assembly speaker told Sunday Times that she was unaware of the investigation against her.

“If that is what you are saying, [that] I am being investigated, I expect that I will be questioned by the directorate and if I am being charged I will be taken to court. And then I will speak for myself,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.

She, however, admitted she knew Ntsondwa-Ndhlovu.

“I have met her,” she added.

Mapisa-Nqakula Cabinet removal

Mapisa-Nqakula was elected as the speaker of Parliament in August 2021.

The position became vacant when President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed the previous speaker, Thandi Modise, as the new Minister of Defence and Military Veterans following a Cabinet reshuffle.

Her removal from Cabinet came after July unrest, which sparked calls from opposition for Mapisa-Nqakula to be sacked.

READ MORE: Mapisa-Nqakula’s Zimbabwe trip with ANC officials ‘constituted improper conduct’

The former defence minister was part of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster (JCPS).

The cluster was heavily criticised for their handling of the rampant looting and violent riots.

Meanwhile, Ntsondwa-Ndlovu, who is the former chairperson of the South African Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association (AMD), was arrested and charged with fraud in 2020 related to the contracts.

She was released on R80 000 bail.