DA to lay charges against defence minister

2016-05-30 21:25
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. (Deaan Vivier, City Press)

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. (Deaan Vivier, City Press)

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Cape Town - The DA will lay charges against Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula for alleged contravention of the Immigration Act, Democratic Alliance MP Kobus Marais said on Monday.

The party would also ask the Public Protector to investigate her after she admitted, in a lengthy statement following a Sunday Times report, that she had helped facilitate Burundian woman Michelle Wege's release from a jail in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) so she could escape a life of abuse. 

"Minister Mapisa-Nqakula must be held to account," Marais said.

Marais said Mapisa-Nqakula may have been acting on compassionate grounds, but could not be a law unto herself.

"Minister Mapisa-Nqakula vehemently emphasised the plight of Ms Wege as a frightened woman needing an escape from an abusive father. Wege's father has since come out denying abusing his daughter, and stating business ties to Mapisa-Nqakula," he said.

Twisted facts

In a follow-up report this week, the Sunday Times reported that Wege was romantically involved with Mapisa-Nqakula's late son Chumani. He was killed in an argument with a neighbour last year. 

Marais said the charges would be in terms of Section 49(2) of the Immigration Act, which stipulates that: "Anyone who knowingly assists a person to enter or remain in, or depart from the Republic in contravention of this Act, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment not exceeding five years".

President Jacob Zuma has been given a report on the allegations.

When the Sunday Times broke the story, Mapisa-Nqakula said they had twisted the facts by saying she had smuggled the woman on an SA Defence Force jet. She was co-incidentally due for official business in the DRC, where Wege was being held in jail for allegedly having false travel papers from Burundi.

Mapisa-Nqakula helped facilitate her release. Wege was able to travel with the minister on a copy of her own passport with a South African visa in it, that she had saved on a memory stick. She said her intention was to save Wege from a life of abuse.

Read more on:    da  |  nosiviwe mapisa-nqakula

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