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Embattled South African Parliament Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula Resigns

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he Speaker of South Africa’s parliament tendered her resignation on Wednesday, stepping down from her legislative seat amidst corruption allegations. This move came just a day after her failed attempt in court to halt potential arrest.

Prosecutors had signaled their intent to charge Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula with corruption, alleging she accepted approximately $135,000 in bribes from a defense contractor during her tenure as defense minister spanning three years.

The alleged bribes were said to have been received between December 2016 and July 2019, with an outstanding amount of $105,000. In her resignation statement, Mapisa-Nqakula maintained her innocence, attributing her decision to focus on addressing the investigation launched against her by law enforcement.

While media reports claim instances where she allegedly received sums of money, including one occasion at the country’s primary international airport in February 2019, the Speaker reiterated her innocence.

Amidst allegations of corruption against its leaders, Mapisa-Nqakula’s party, the African National Congress, faces a pivotal election this year. Recent polls indicate a potential decline in electoral support, possibly dropping below 50%, marking its lowest level since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Following her resignation, uncertainty lingers over whether Mapisa-Nqakula will face immediate arrest or surrender voluntarily, following the dismissal of her motion by the North Gauteng High Court to evade apprehension.