Telling empowering stories, South Africans want to hear

Tuesday, 09 July 2024 09:27

Mapisa-Nqakula corruption case postponed to October as details emerge.

By Alex Mitchley.

The alleged corrupt relationship between former defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and businesswoman Nombasa Ntsondwa-Ndhlovu is said to have started when a R104 million contract awarded to the defence contractor was suspended.

In an endeavour to "rectify the situation", Ntsondwa-Ndhlovu allegedly phoned Mapisa-Nqakula.

According to the State, after this call, Mapisa-Nqakula allegedly received kickbacks amounting to more than R2.1 million between December 2016 and July 2019.

She briefly appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, where she was served with the indictment. The matter was transferred to the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria for pre-trial proceedings on 16 October.

The indictment paints a grim picture of how Mapisa-Nqakula started soliciting bribes from the defence contractor, which were alleged to have been paid in cash over a period of about two and a half years.

According to the indictment, the R104-million defence contract to provide logistics services to the SA National Defence Force was awarded to Ntsondwa-Ndhlovu's company, Umkhombe Marine (PTY) Limited, in February 2016.

A couple of days later, Ntsondwa-Ndhlovu was informed by the SANDF that the contract had been suspended.

The indictment read: "In an endeavour to rectify the situation, Nombasa contacted certain persons, and she was provided with the accused's (Mapisa-Nqakula's) contact number. Nombasa called the accused about the suspended contract and the accused undertook to investigate the matter."

In November 2016, Mapisa-Nqakula allegedly requested that then-Secretary of Defence, Dr Sam Gulube, who has since died, approach Ntsondwa-Ndhlovu to ask her for R300 000, the indictment stated.

Ntsondwa-Ndhlovu allegedly handed Gulube R300 000 in cash a few days later.

"A second request was made again by Gulube on behalf of the accused for an amount of R400 000. Nombasa decided not to pay, and instead sought a meeting with the accused," the indictment read.

It is alleged that in December 2016, an individual named Nozuko arranged a meeting between the minister and Ntsondwa-Ndhlovu at the Intercontinental Johannesburg hotel at OR Tambo International Airport.

In the meeting, Mapisa-Nqakula allegedly confirmed that she had sent Gulube for the two payments.

It was also allegedly agreed that Gulube, as a supposed middleman, would be cut out and all future engagements would be directly between the accused and Ntsondwa-Ndhlovu.

Following the meeting, Ntsondwa-Ndhlovu allegedly met with Mapisa-Nqakula on 12 different occasions in Pretoria and Johannesburg, where bribes were solicited to the tune of R4 550 000.

Of these requests for money, the State contends that the minister received bribes of R2 150 000.

Among many payment requests, Mapisa-Nqakula allegedly asked for R2 million during a meeting in Bruma in September 2018 and US dollars valued at R150 000 during a meeting in Waterkloof, Pretoria in the same month.

During this period, Mapisa-Nqakula was allegedly having her R7 million home in Bruma renovated.

The State alleges that approximately R1 670 000 paid to the minister by the defence contractor was used to pay the service providers doing the renovations.

Mapisa-Nqakula has been charged with 12 counts of corruption and one count of money laundering.

Meanwhile, Ntsondwa-Ndhlovu has turned State witness.

In her bail application, Mapisa-Nqakula slammed the State's case against her as exceedingly weak.

Prosecutor Bheki Manyathi disputed this and said the State had independently obtained evidence corroborating Ntsondwa-Ndhlovu's version.