What now for Speaker Mapisa-Nqakula? NPA says ‘wheels of justice will now be in motion’

Former Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, now Speaker of Parliament, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. File Picture

Former Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, now Speaker of Parliament, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. File Picture

Published Apr 2, 2024


The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Tuesday welcomed the “well reasoned judgment” delivered by Judge Sulet Potterill in the High Court in Pretoria, which dismissed an application for an interdict by National Assembly Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

Judge Potterill also slapped the embattled Mapisa-Nqakula with costs.

On Tuesday morning, IOL reported that Mapisa-Nqakula suffered a severe legal blow as the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria dismissed her urgent application for an interdict against an impending arrest amid a ongoing multi-million rand corruption investigation.

Speaking to journalists after the ruling, NPA national spokesperson, advocate Mthunzi Mhanga said “the wheels of justice will now be in motion”, though he insisted that he would not discuss details around an arrest with the media.

Mthunzi Mhaga, national spokesperson of the National Prosecuting Authority. File Picture

“Of importance is that we don’t discuss issues of arrests, evidential issues, witnesses, investigative processes in the media. Obviously, the wheels of justice will now be in motion as you were listening to the judgment which was well reasoned,” said Mhaga.

“We have always maintained that this was unprecedented (Mapisa-Nqakula’s application to interdict an arrest which has not happened) and it was unnecessary for us to be brought to court. We have always maintained that the process of arrest should be done seamlessly.”

In court, Potterill said nothing unlawful has been done against Mapisa-Nqakula.

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

The High Court in Pretoria has dismissed an application made by National Assembly Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. File Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

“Much reliance was placed on the fact that the applicant (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.

“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,” she said.

On Monday last week, 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.

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

During the proceedings last week, 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, Potterill 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.

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.

National Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Shamila Batohi. File Picture

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 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.

National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. File Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

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.