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South Africa National Assembly speaker charged with corruption and money laundering

South African authorities arrested National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on Thursday based on multiple corruption charges. The arrest comes the day after Mapise-Nqakula resigned from her position in the country’s Parliament amid an ongoing investigation into alleged corruption and misconduct during her tenure as South Africa’s defense minister.

Following her resignation Wednesday night, Mapisa-Nqakula surrendered herself at a police station in Lyttleton, Pretoria on Thursday morning. Appearing in the Specialized Commercial Crimes Court in  Pretoria on Thursday, Mapisa-Nqakula was charged with 12 counts of corruption and one count of money laundering.

The former speaker was granted bail at 50,000 South African Rand (approximately $2,680). Speaking to SABC news, Magistrate Anna Oosthuizen said it was “in the interest of justice” for Mapisa-Nqakula to be released on bail.

Mapise-Nqakula, who served as the speaker of the National Assembly from August 2021, stands accused of accepting significant cash bribes amounting to four million South African Rand (approximately $215,000) from a former military contractor during her previous tenure as the minister of defense and military veterans. Last month, Mapise-Nqakula’s home was raided by authorities as part of the investigation.

Following the raid of her home, Mapisa-Nqakula took special leave from her role as the Parliament’s speaker on March 21. She has since steadfastly maintained her innocence. Mapisa-Nqakula asserted that her leave and subsequent resignation ought not be construed as an admission of guilt but rather as a conscientious decision, given the seriousness of the allegations and the corresponding speculation within local and international media.

Her sentiments were shared by the African National Congress (ANC), the party with which Mapisa-Nqakula aligns herself. In a statement issued by the ANC’s media office and shared to X (formerly Twitter), spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri wrote:

In her resignation, Comrade Nosiviwe Mapise-Nqakula highlighted her intention to protect the reputation of our organization, the African National Congress, after dedicating more than 30 years of service. We value her commitment to maintaining the image of our organization, as it reflects our principle of organizational renewal that promotes proactive responsibility-taking among members, rather than waiting for instructions to step aside.

The ANC has confirmed that party member Lechesa Tsenoli will continue in his role as the acting speaker. The case against Mapise-Nqakula has been postponed to June 4, when proceedings are expected to begin.

Article: South Africa National Assembly speaker charged with corruption and money laundering

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