Frolick clamps down attempts to discuss Mapisa-Nqakula corruption allegations

Speaker of the National Assembly Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. Picture: Independent Newspapers/Archive

Speaker of the National Assembly Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. Picture: Independent Newspapers/Archive

Published Mar 7, 2024


House chairperson of the National Assembly Cedric Frolick shot down attempts by opposition parties to discuss the complaints laid before the ethics committee against Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

The DA and EFF laid complaints with the ethics committee after it was reported at the weekend that Mapisa-Nqakula allegedly received cash bribes of up to R2.5 million from defence industry businesswomen Nombasa Ntsondwa-Ndhlovu while she was the defence minister.

On Thursday, EFF MP Hlengiwe Mkhaliphi initially wanted the matter to be part of the agenda of the National Assembly programme committee.

Frolick said he would not entertain a discussion on the matter because they may fall foul of ethics code, but indicated that he would outline the procedure on how the committee handled complaints.

“It is important how the ethics committee process works so that we have clear clarity in mind of the public as well as honourable MPs,” Frolick said.

Despite his explanation, Mkhaliphi and EFF MP Natasha Ntlangwini insisted that it be on the agenda as they wanted to raise important issues.

When the matter was finally on the agenda, Frolick said the process of the ethics committee was straightforward.

“We don’t get involved, that includes the Speaker, on any matter that is in front of the ethics committee.

“The procedure is if a complaint is laid then the acting registrar would deal with the matter in terms of the code and affected members will be informed accordingly and they will interact with acting registrar and she reports to joint ethics and members,” he explained.

He also said the presiding officers have not received correspondence from the ethics committee on how the matter would be dealt with.

“If they do, they will also fall foul of the provisions of the code of conduct,” Frolick said.

DA chief whip Siviwe Gwarube raised concern about the frequency of the meeting of the ethics committee, which she said met six times in 2023 and not once this year.

“It is important from a programme perspective to nudge upon them the importance of dealing with that work,” she said.

Mkhaliphi said it could not be business as usual, especially that the parliamentary term was nearing its end.

Mkhaliphi also said Mapisa-Nqakula should resign or be forced to step down by her party because of the serious allegations.

She questioned why the ethics committee has an acting registrar since 2018.

“Are we serious about the work of the ethics committee … This matter must be addressed. You must explain what the way forward is,” Mkhaliphi said.

ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina said it was well known that the ethics committee did not finish its work because of unavailability of its members and that Mondays have been set aside for its sittings.

“It would be incorrect that we pick up a particular matter and bring it here. The matter must be dealt with by the ethics committee,” Majodina said.

NFP MP Munzoor Shaik-Emam said it was premature for the matter to be brought before the programme committee.

“If we had to go on allegations, then I think a lot of people in this House should have been resigning. It is unfortunate and unfair to ask anybody to resign when a matter has not been dealt with,” Shaik-Emam said.

Ntlangwini insisted that the work of the ethics committee should be looked into.

“They are quick to sit and form a quorum in cases of the EFF and prioritise them without fail. This case can take the same priority,” she said.

“We have a right to know what is on their schedule in this term,” she said.

It was at this point that there was a shouting brawl between the ANC and EFF MPs until Frolick ordered that Ntlangwini be kicked out of the virtual platform.

He did not allow other speakers to speak on the matter and stated that the views expressed by the committee members would be conveyed to the ethics committee.

Frolick confirmed that the acting registrar held the position since 2018 and that Secretary to Parliament Masibulele Xaso could respond why it was the case but not in the programme committee.

Cape Times