Mapisa-Nqakula gets slap on the wrist for attempt to ‘loot’ SANDF

Former Parliament Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, embroiled in a corruption scandal, has stirred controversy within the Department of Defence by requesting legal representation for her upcoming trial, without consulting the top brass.

In a statement on Friday, Defence Minister Thandi Modise expressed frustration over the handling of the request. She revealed that Mapisa-Nqakula sought legal assistance for her corruption trial without prior consultation.

Corruption and money laundering

Mapisa-Nqakula faces charges of corruption and money laundering amounting to over R4-million. The money was allegedly received in bribes during her tenure as defence minister. She submitted her request through Major General Eric Mnisi. The said Mnisi is the head of legal services in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

However, Modise has confirmed that Mnisi acted on the request without consulting her or Thobekile Gamede. The latter is the secretary of defence and the department’s accounting officer.

Modise voiced her displeasure, emphasising the necessity of following proper protocols, particularly in matters affecting the department’s finances. She criticised Mnisi’s actions as disrespectful to executive authority and instructed Gamede to investigate the matter.

Modise highlighted the irregularity in the handling of Mapisa-Nqakula’s request. She stressed that such matters require careful consideration. This especially considering their potential financial implications. 

Modise displeased

“The request, unfortunately came through the office of the head of legal service in the …Defence Force, Major General Eric Mnisi. He then actioned it prior to seeking counsel from either the minister nor the secretary of defence Dr Thobekile Gamede, who is also the accounting officer. This particularly on matters that have financial implications on the department.

“General Mnisi’s handling of the matter without following existing protocols is tantamount to disrespect of executive authority in the Department of Defence. The minister instructed  Dr Gamede to look into general Mnisi’s handling of the matter. This from an administrative and process point of view. There are protocols that must be followed for such requests,” reads the statement.

Bail with travel restrictions

Mapisa-Nqakula resigned as speaker earlier this month and is no longer a member of Parliament. She exchanged roles with Thandi Modise in August 2021.

The former speaker is out on bail with travel restrictions. She is set to return to court on June 4 to face the 12 counts of corruption and money laundering charges. These are related to tenders awarded during her tenure as Defence Minister.

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