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Parliamentary Speaker Mapisa-Nqakula Granted Interim Interdict Against Arrest

Published March 26, 2024
1 months ago

South Africa's Parliamentary Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, has obtained a temporary reprieve from arrest concerning allegations of corruption levied against her. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has agreed not to proceed with her arrest until after April 2. This decision is in anticipation of the outcome of Mapisa-Nqakula's application for an interim interdict to prevent her detention. The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria heard her case and has reserved judgment.

Advocate Willis SC, representing Mapisa-Nqakula, appealed to the court for a protective order to prevent an imminent arrest until the court's decision is rendered. Although the Speaker has asserted her eagerness to clear her name in court, she emphasized that being arrested should not be part of that process.

Amid these proceedings, it has been made public that the speaker is willing to turn herself in on April 3, which aligns with her lawyer's availability. This willingness was communicated to the NPA, yet no assurances were provided that she would not be arrested preemptively. The scenario prompted Willis to inquire about the necessity of such urgency if the NPA already knew about their prior commitments.

Advocate Gwala, representing the State, argued against any special treatment for Mapisa-Nqakula, stating that accepting her terms might set a precedent for millions of other South Africans currently facing legal challenges.

The Speaker's request also includes a demand for full disclosure of all information pertaining to her case. Mapisa-Nqakula, who served as Minister of Defence from 2012 to 2021, has been accused of accepting bribes worth millions from a military contractor. Despite these accusations, she has vociferously denied any wrongdoing, insinuating that the charges against her are baseless and an attempt to tarnish her reputation.

Her legal representative Stephen May has criticized the State for allegedly leaking selective information to the media while withholding it from Mapisa-Nqakula. He has asserted that arresting her is unnecessary, especially since the NPA would not be opposed to bail. May further highlighted his client's commitment to the rule of law and her readiness to vindicate herself before a court of law without enduring an arrest.

Bheki Manyathi, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions in the Investigating Directorate, counters that the urgency of Mapisa-Nqakula's application is unwarranted as the Speaker has not yet been officially charged and no court date has been set. He has refuted any implications of inauthentic intent on the NPA's part and clarifies that they have merely extended a courtesy to Mapisa-Nqakula to surrender voluntarily for the formal legal processes.

Manyathi emphasized the NPA's position that the investigation is complete and that the decision to prosecute was made on March 10. He also clarified that Mapisa-Nqakula doesn't currently have the right to full disclosure of the investigative docket.

The confrontation between Mapisa-Nqakula and the NPA highlights the intricate legal dance of high-profile cases in South Africa, reflecting both the complexities of legal protocols and the political nuances influencing justice and the judicial processes.

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