Parliament has a new speaker, but few are celebrating

South Africa’s new parliamentary speaker is Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula – and wow, lots of people are furious about it. The former defence minister, who bungled the handling of the recent looting and is mired in scandal, was sworn into the powerful position today. The ANC’s majority got her there, though the opposition DA put up its own candidate in a largely symbolic move. As we mentioned last week, in this position, Mapisa-Nqakula will preside over an investigation into her time as minister, by a parliamentary committee that is set to finalise its investigations by the end of August. The Joint Standing Committee on Defence is investigating Mapisa-Nqakula for allegedly receiving a R5 million bribe from a defence contractor, blowing R7 million on aircraft charters and living it up at luxury hotels.

Last week we told you about R5 million in cash and gifts from a service provider to the Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans; this week’s new details make her appointment look even worse. At least the matter is public and being investigated, though. We’ll watch the release of the committee’s report with a keen eye – and let you know how Mapisa-Nqakula handles it from the Speaker’s chair. 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 19 August 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.