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Wednesday, 03 April 2024 17:36

National Assembly speaker Mapisa-Nqakula resigns to focus on graft charges.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

National Assembly (NA) Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has resigned from her position amid ongoing investigations into corruption allegations against her.

Mapisa-Nqakula is set to face charges of 12 counts of corruption and one of money laundering involving R4.5 million dating back to when she was Defence Minister.

In her resignation letter, dated 3 April, Mapisa-Nqakula said she was resigning as the Speaker and as a Member of Parliament.

"I have made this conscious decision to dedicate my time and focus to deal with the recently announced investigation against me by our country's law enforcement agencies," Mapisa-Nqakula said on Wednesday. 

She said her resignation was in no way an indication or admission of guilt regarding the allegations levelled against her.

"I have made this decision in order uphold the integrity and sanctity of our parliament, an apex institution of our system of government, representing of the people of South Africa as a whole."

She said the position of the speaker was critical in the reconstruction and development of the country.

"Given the seriousness of the much-publicised allegations against me, I cannot continue in this role.

"As a country's chief lawmaker, I hold a central responsibility to protect and preserve the integrity of parliament by ensuring that my actions ensure that its sacred work must continue without blemish."

Mapisa-Nqakula said as a member of the African National Congress (ANC), she had spent half her life on the forefront of the struggle "to defend the freedom and rights of all South Africans".

She said 30 of these years were in her capacity as a member of Parliament and the Executive.

Part of the principle for which me and many other comrades fought for, is the principle for every South African to be deemed innocent until proven guilty.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) denied it was giving Mapisa-Nqakula special treatment ahead of her arrest.

The speaker will have to hand herself over to authorities after her urgent Pretoria High Court application to block her arrest for corruption allegations was struck off the roll on Tuesday.

Political Parties have welcomed the resignation Mapisa-Nqakula saying it was long overdue, and this has protected the integrity of Parliament.

The Inkatha Freedom Party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) and ActionSA said the law must now take its course.

IFP national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said Mapisa-Nqakula will focus her energies on her case.

"This is a responsible decision by Mapisa-Nqakula as it allows her to focus on her legal matters without dragging Parliament along any further," said Hlengwa.

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba said they welcome the decision by Mapisa-Nqakula to resign as speaker.

He said they were concerned that both President Cyril Ramaphosa and her party, the African National Congress (ANC) had waited for so long before she could resign.

He said they hope the National Prosecuting Authority will now focus on the prosecution of the former speaker.

Good Party Secretary-General Brett Herron said it welcomed the resignation of Mapisa-Nqakula. However, he said it was unclear whether the former speaker was pushed or resigned of her own volition.

DA chief whip Siviwe Gwarube said the resignation of Mapisa-Nqakula would mean the motion of no confidence would fall away and her complaint to the Ethics Committee would also be dropped as she was no longer a member of Parliament.

But they still want the law to take its course.

"We believe that anyone who holds this high office should be beyond reproach; and Mapisa-Nqakula is not suited for it," said Gwarube.