Lawyers for the whistleblower who accused former Defence Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula, of corruption say Parliament is breaching the provisions of the Protected Disclosures Act by demanding to unmask their client.
Mapisa-Nqakula is now the Speaker of the National Assembly. She’s accused of receiving gifts as bribes worth up to R5 million from a business person who was contracted to the department.
Last week, the Standing Committee on Defence resolved not to investigate the allegations citing non-cooperation by the whistleblower.
In a letter to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Defence, which the SABC has seen, Molala Attorneys representing the whistleblower, claim that the committee had made an undertaking that it won’t disclose the identity of their client. They have also accused it of leaking the 27 questions sent to their client. The whistleblower refused to submit a sworn affidavit after it emerged that the confidentiality agreement in line with the Protected Disclosures Act would be breached. The letter states that the whistleblower is willing to cooperate with the committee by giving a statement and not an affidavit.
According to the reply by the whistleblower to the 27 questions from the committee, Mapisa-Nqakula had sought bribes from the whistleblower amounting to R5 million between 2017 and 2019.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) is of the view that the closure of the investigation is “premature”. Party Spokesperson on Defence, Kobus Marais says they’ve written to the Chairpersons of the joint standing Committee requesting for the probe to be reopened.
“The DA has written to the Chairpersons of Joint Standing Committee on Defence (JSCD) requesting that the Task Team established to investigate allegations of impropriety levelled against newly elected National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula continue its probe. The committee’s decision not to continue with the investigations is premature and seems to overlook the importance of the whistleblower statement. This is a major concern as it suggests that the Speaker may have used her influence to prevent an investigation into her conduct to continue. This is a serious allegation against her and must be fully investigated,” says Marais.
United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader and Member of Parliament, Bantu Holomisa says the decision to stop the investigations is incorrect.
The Congress of the People has also criticised the action calling for the probe to go ahead.
“The allegations of corruptions against the former Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula must be investigated. Now that the whistleblower is prepared to give evidence, he must be given that opportunity to tell the country the truth. A duck cloud can’t hang over the head of the now Speaker of the National Assembly. We want to hear the truth,” says COPE National Spokesperson, Dennis Bloem.
One of the Chairpersons of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence, Elleck Nchabeleng insists that because the committee had not received cooperation from the whistleblower by the end of its mandate last month, the investigation against Mapisa-Nqakula had to be stopped. He says the committee is open to accommodating the whistleblower at any time if she wishes to change her mind and comply with the requirements of the committee.
VIDEO: Holomisa implicates Minister Mapisa-Nqakula in a R5 million scandal