Home corruption Defence Minister Mapisa-Nqakula implicated in R5 million scandal

Defence Minister Mapisa-Nqakula implicated in R5 million scandal

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Damning allegations contained in a letter that UDM leader Bantu Holomisa sent to the chairperson of the parliamentary joint standing committee on defence

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

DEFENCE and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula allegedly received wads of cash and gifts totalling R5 million from a South African National Defence Force (SANDF) contractor between 2017 and 2019.

The damning allegations are contained in a letter that United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa sent to the chairperson of the parliamentary joint standing committee on defence last week.

In the letter seen by Independent Media, where the contractor is not named, Holomisa claims Mapisa-Nqakula allegedly received:

* R300,000 that was given to a senior SANDF official “for the benefit of the minister” at OR Tambo International Airport in November 2017.

* R150,000 to pay a night nurse who was taking care of the minister’s terminally-ill father in November 2017.

* Seven payments of between R100,000 and R500,000 in hard cash from February 16 to July 5, 2028.

* R250,000 “umphako” in August 2018 ahead of an event.

* R150,000 during a meeting at her private residence in Bruma, east of Johannesburg, in September 2018.

* American dollars delivered to the VIP tent at the Waterkloof Air Force Base during an aerospace and defence event, also in September 2018.

* An undisclosed amount of money on January 2, 2019, ahead of a trip to Durban where she was attending a family funeral.

* Several payments of R400,000 cash between February and July 2019.

* Various payments towards the renovation of her private residence including “Egyptian doors”. An Egyptian door is worth more than R30,000.

Mapisa-Nqakula’s spokesperson, Siphiwe Dlamini, on Saturday confirmed that the minister was aware of Holomisa’s letter.

“The minister is waiting for the parliamentary processes on this matter to start so she can answer to some of these allegations,” Dlamini said.

Holomisa confirmed he was the author of the letter and that he sent it to the chairpersons of the joint standing committee on defence.

“My wish is for the minister to come clean and the committee to deal with these allegations against her,” he said.

Holomisa said that as a member of Parliament and a citizen of this country, he couldn’t keep his mouth shut after he “stumbled across these serious allegations against the minister”.

“I had no choice but to write to the joint standing committee on defence and ask them to investigate the matter.”

Holomisa said he didn’t write to President Cyril Ramaphosa because the minister’s husband, Charles Nqakula, is the national security adviser for the president.

Ramaphosa was forced to dock three months salary from the minister last year after she allowed ANC members, including party secretary-general Ace Magashule, to fly on a defence force plane to Zimbabwe for a non-governmental meeting.

The minister was found guilty of misusing state resources for ANC business after she gave a lift to her comrades.

In 2016, Mapisa-Nqakula was accused of smuggling a foreign national with a false passport into South Africa on a state jet.

The Burundian woman was arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo after she tried to board a commercial plane to South Africa with fake documents.

The documents were allegedly organised by Mapisa-Nqakula’s sister who worked in the Burundi embassy at the time.

The minister’s sister was subsequently suspended from the embassy and recalled.

After Mapisa-Nqakula allegedly managed to smuggle the woman into South Africa, she stayed at her private residence in Bruma where she was allegedly dating one of the minister’s sons.

The minister was being investigated but the outcome of the probe was never made public.