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THE joint standing committee on defence is still waiting for a statement from a whistle-blower who made allegations against National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula when she was defence minister.
That was the word from the committee’s co-chairperson Elleck Nchabeleng yesterday.
“We have not yet received the statement. There is a team liaising with General (Bantu) Holomisa and the whistle-blower. That is all I can say,” said Nchabeleng when asked about the progress on the investigation.
A cloud is hanging over Mapisa-Nqakula after allegations were made by a whistle-blower a few months ago.
This has cast doubts on the prospects of the committee’s investigation after Mapisa-Nqakula was elected as the Speaker on Thursday.
In April, the Sunday Independent reported that Mapisa-Nqakula allegedly received cash and gifts totalling R5 million from a SANDF contractor between 2017 and 2019.
The allegations were reportedly contained in a letter that UDM leader Bantu Holomisa sent to the committee.
The Sunday Independent also reported that Holomisa submitted another dossier alleging that Mapisa-Nqakula’s expensive taste cost the taxpayer over R7m on questionable chartered flights and luxury hotel accommodations.
Mapisa-Nqakula had previously stated, through her former spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini, that she was ready to avail herself to the committee “should she be required to appear and explain herself regarding the Honourable Holomisa’s allegations”.
Yesterday, another committee co-chairperson Cyril Xaba told Independent Media that the parliamentary legal services had been in contact with the lawyers of the whistle-blower to ask him to submit an affidavit.
“Until this date he has not furnished us with an affidavit. There is no commitment to give oral evidence,” Xaba said.
DA MP Kobus Marais said the standing committee had appointed a task team to get in touch with the person who made the allegations in order to evaluate and make recommendations whether there is a prima facie case to answer to the police, the National Prosecuting Authority or the parliamentary ethics committee.
“We requested more substantive information from the whistle-blower,” said Marais.
He also said they requested the legal team to get in touch with Holomisa so that they can contact the whistle-blower and see if his or her identity could be revealed.
“The person wants to stay anonymous … We want to get an affidavit and certified proof of the allegations. That is where it is at the moment.”
Marais, who serves on the task team, said they have until the end of August to finish their task.
“If we get the information, we will report to the standing committee or see whether to ask for an extension.
“We will get to a point where we say it is justified to refer it maybe to the NPA, ethics committee or maybe the president.”
Xaba said it was about two months now that the legal services were trying to get the whistle-blower to depose an affidavit.
“There is no case to answer until you make the allegations in writing. The sub-committee has until the end of August,” he said.
Xaba also stated that the person who made allegations should be prepared to answer questions from the committee.
Marais said they needed to interact with the whistle-blower or at least obtain an affidavit even if they interacted with the person on an anonymous basis.
“It is our responsibility and obligation that we have a proper oversight. In times of austerity we need to save every cent and channel it to the soldiers and equipment required by the SANDF,” he added.