The woman who was allegedly smuggled into the country by Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula was in a relationship with her late son, Chumani, according to a source who met the couple in 2014.
The minister has declined to comment on the relationship until further notice, but The Citizen can confirm that the two were romantically involved.
Mapisa-Nqakula has been defending her actions, which include using her influence to charter an air force jet, to fly Michelle Wege, 22, a Burundian national, from the Democratic Republic of Congo to South Africa without a valid passport. This, she claims, was in a bid to rescue her from what she called an abusive father, businessman Laurent Wege, who allegedly confiscated his daughter’s passport.
“The woman had become friends with my children during their various holiday visits between 2013 and 2014 to Burundi, where my sister lived during her diplomatic tour of duty for the South African government,” Mapisa-Nqakula said in a statement last week.
But the Sunday Times newspaper reported yesterday that Wege claimed to have had a business relationship with Mapisa-Nqakula and vehemently denied having abused his daughter.
The paper also reported that the minister’s late son, Chumani, was dating Michelle and had plans to marry her before he died last year. He was stabbed to death, allegedly by a friend, in October last year.
The DA has said it will ask Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to probe the issue.
“ANC government officials have for too long used the public coffers for personal enrichment, causing millions to suffer and bear the brunt of their recklessness,” MP Kobus Marais said.