Authorities tight-lipped on Mapisa-Nqakula’s arrest

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Authorities remained mum on whether an arrest will be effected against National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

This after the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria struck the Speaker’s urgent interdict application off the court roll.

Judge Sulet Potterill also ordered Mapisa-Nqakula to pay the costs.

Last week, the Speaker launched the application seeking to prevent the state from effecting an arrest against her.

This follows corruption allegations levelled against her during her tenure as Defence Minister.

“Even if I should consider it, there is also pursuant to a question by this court whether this court would not be deciding already the matter as it seeks the same relief pertaining to arrest in the main application. Counsel for the applicant strongly argued that the court would make a final ruling as this is just an interdict. In that case, the applicant will have substantial redress in a hearing to follow. As for the costs, the cost must follow the result. Accordingly, the application is struck from the roll. The applicant is to pay the costs including the costs of two counsel,” added Potterill.

Not urgent

Potterill also said that Mapisa-Nqakula’s application is not urgent and she has substantial redress in the main application, which is expected to be heard on April 9.

In arguments, the Speaker’s legal counsel argued that Mapisa-Nqakula was merely requesting the State to “back off” until her legal representative was available on April 3.

The respondents, however, asked whether it would be in the interests of justice for the Speaker and her legal counsel to dictate the terms under which she would be processed.

Potterill found that it would not.

“The accused is entitled to legal representation. This trite does not include that a legal representative dictates when a police official acting in terms of its authority has to fulfill its duty. The averment that the respondents don’t want an attorney present for her to incriminate herself is pure speculation…and the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) attempting to secure an attorney to be present at her arrest. Already at the gatehouse, the applicant is afforded legal representation. She has been afforded legal representation in a pre-trial and pre-arrest stage. A court cannot interdict to prevent statutory authorities to comply with their statutory duties.”

Potterill also says it would not be competent for courts to interdict arrests as it would lead to the collapse of the criminal justice system.

With the dismissal of Mapisa-Nqakula’s application and the expected availability of her attorney today, it begs the question: “Will the Speaker be arrested, or will she be handing herself over at the Lyttleton Police Station?

Mapisa Nqakula’s spokesperson, Mike Ramagoma, says they have noted the judgment and emphasised that the application was not an attempt to evade arrest.

Ramagoma says discussions will be held with the NPA regarding the next move.

More details in the report below: