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South Africa speaker resigns amid corruption probe

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is accused of soliciting bribes during her time as defense minister before she became the speaker of parliament. The resignation comes ahead of a general election scheduled for late May.

Speaker of South Africa’s National Assembly Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula resigned Wednesday, a day after losing a court bid that would block her arrest over allegations of corruption.

The resignation comes ahead of general elections scheduled for late May. The ruling African National Congress (ANC), of which Mapisa-Nqakula is a member, has been struggling in the polls.

What are the charges against South Africa’s National Assembly speaker?

Last week, prosecutors said they intend to charge her with corruption over bribes she allegedly received from a military contractor when she was defense minister between 2014 and 2021. 

She has denied the charges and said her, “resignation is in no way an indication or admission of guilt regarding the allegations being levelled against me.”

Members of a top investigative team raided Mapisa-Nqakula’s residence in March over allegations that she received about $135,000 (€124,000) in bribes.

On Tuesday, she lost a court bid to prevent the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the SA Police Service from arresting her.

It remained unclear if she would be taken into custody or surrender to authorities on her own.

Ruling ANC struggling ahead of May vote

The case has added to the woes of the ANC, which has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid leading to the first democratic election in 1994.

Polls have showed that the party could see its share of the vote drop below 50% for the first time since the country began holding free elections.

The ANC praised Mapisa-Nqakula for protecting its reputation in tendering her resignation before being requested to do so.

“We value her commitment to maintaining the image of our organisation,” the ANC said.

Former President Jacob Zuma was removed from office in 2018 amid wide-ranging corruption allegations and after he had governed for nine years. The former president, who was expelled from the ANC earlier this year, had announced he would run as part of the new MK party, but Zuma was barred from presenting his candidacy by the country’s electoral commission.

Source: Dw

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