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By Brian Sokutu

Senior Print Journalist

Mapisa-Nqakula stands alone as ANC leaders keep away

Former Speaker appears in court with sparse support, reflecting on her resignation amid noticeable absence of ANC leaders.

Former National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula yesterday cut a lonely figure in the dock of the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court, supported by only her husband Charles Nqakula, friend Baleka Mbete and lawyers.

High-profile ANC leaders and the usual black, green and gold-clad supporters seem to have distanced themselves from Mapisa-Nqakula, once one of the most powerful figures in the party and in the state.

Mapisa-Nqakula maintained her composure

A distraught-looking Mapisa-Nqakula, elegantly dressed in a blue and yellow dress and matching turban, maintained her composure.

With media cameras firmly focused on her, she found herself in a strange setting – incomparable to parliament, where she served as speaker until her resignation this week.

Reflecting on her decision to resign from public office, University of Pretoria politics lecturer Roland Henwood said: “This is what must happen when good governance values guide leaders in public office.

“Unfortunately, she tried to use the courts to block this and only acted when there was no option … there are too many examples where this is not the preferred action [for ANC leaders]. The party and its leadership condone and support those who refuse to take responsibility.

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“It underlines the ANC position that the individual and party interests are above that of the state and citizens of South Africa.”

ANC maintain its distance

The ANC has maintained its distance.

ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina said: “The ANC parliamentary caucus has welcomed comrade Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s resignation as the National Assembly speaker and MP.

“We wish to thank [her] for her role in serving the South African people since she was deployed by the ANC in 1994 as an MP and executive.

“The ANC caucus also affirms comrade Nosiviwe’s assertion that her resignation is not an admission of guilt of the allegations against her. We respect her decision to resign in order to preserve and protect the integrity of parliament.

“We will forever be grateful for the role in the National Assembly in her relatively brief tenure.”

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