‘State agents have been lenient’: Speaker Mapisa-Nqakula fails in court bid to interdict pending arrest

Former Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. File Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Former Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. File Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Published Apr 2, 2024


National Assembly Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, on Tuesday suffered a legal blow as the High Court in Pretoria dismissed her urgent application to interdict her impending arrest amid corruption investigations.

“In this case, no arrest has been made and no unlawfulness on its own has been explained to the court expect for mere speculation being raised,” Judge Sulet Potterill said.

“Much reliance was placed on the fact that the applicant (Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula) has a right to legal representation of her choice. Clearly the NDPP (National Director of Public Prosecutions) and the police investigator are aware of this right and have afforded her ample time to report to the Lyttleton police station with a legal representative,” she said.

“The delay in processing the applicant was done out of courtesy, it was made clear that it was not a negotiation and was not open-ended.”

On March 25, IOL reported that when the 94-page application was presented before Potterill, the judge ruled that Mapisa-Nqakula would not be arrested in the interim.

However, Potterill said the decision to arrest will be withheld until her ruling on Tuesday.

Speaker of Parliament Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. File Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Potterill heard Mapisa-Nqakula's urgent application on Monday last week to interdict the National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) Investigating Directorate (ID) from arresting her.

Initially, on the day, Potterill postponed the court proceedings to 3pm so that she could review the court papers submitted by both parties.

During the proceedings, the Speaker's legal counsel, Reg Willis, argued against her arrest, stating that she posed no risk of self-harm, harm to others, or interference with witnesses.

Mapisa-Nqakula, who was Minister of Defence from 2012 to 2021, is accused of receiving millions of rand in cash as bribes from a military contractor when she was defence minister. She has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

On Tuesday, Potteril made it abundantly clear that the court would not interdict the statutory bodies from doing their duties.

“It is not as if the State representatives have been not lenient as two weeks go by,” she said.

The court also slapped the embattled Speaker with costs.

In court papers seen by IOL, Mapisa-Nqakula prays to the High Court in Pretoria to interdict five respondents, including National Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Shamila Batohi and Minister of Police Bheki Cele from instituting an arrest against her.

In part, the notice of motion reads: “Be pleased to take note that the above-named applicant (Mapisa-Nqakula) intends to make application on Tuesday 9 April 2024 at 2pm for an order in the following … interdicting and restraining the first to fifth respondents, or their agents, from arresting the applicant, whether under section 40 or 43 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 51 of 1977”.

Last month, IOL reported that Mapisa-Nqakula expressed her willingness to cooperate with law enforcement agencies, should they need to arrest her for the alleged corruption.

She said while she had not received any formal communication from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) about the arrest, she will cooperate with the authorities.

Mapisa-Nqakula said she also took leave of absence as Speaker and has informed Secretary to Parliament, Xolile George and President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The Speaker’s arrest was highly anticipated, following a raid at her house in Johannesburg last month.

The raid was linked to a probe into alleged corruption during her term as defence minister.

“I wish to place it on record, that while the Investigative Directorate of the National Prosecution Authority conducted a search and seizure at my residence, there has been no formal notification of an arrest warrant or communication regarding an imminent arrest for me, neither to me nor my legal team,” Mapisa-Nqakula said in a statement at the time.

“My lawyers have, however, proactively informed the National Prosecution Authority of my readiness to comply and cooperate should the need arise.”

She said she has also decided to take special leave, given the nature of the allegations and speculation on her future.

She said this was to protect the integrity of Parliament.

Last week, Deputy President Paul Mashatile asked that Mapisa-Nqakula be given a chance to clear her name in the courts rather than being forced to quit.