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Defence minister 'smuggled' woman into SA

The minister says her sole intention was to rescue the woman from an abusive family.

Picture: freeimages.com

JOHANNESBURG - Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula apparently smuggled a Burundian woman with a false passport into South Africa on an air force jet.

The Sunday Times says the minister yesterday conceded that she flew from Waterkloof Airforce Base to the Democratic Republic of Congo to fetch Michelle Wege, who had been detained by officials at Kinshasa International Airport.

The minister is denying she abused her power and says she would do it again if she had to.

The Sunday Times says Wege was arrested for using fraudulent documents, which had apparently been organised by Mapisa-Nqakula's sister. Nosithembele Mapisa worked for Burundi's embassy at the time.

The woman's fake passport said she was a Congolese national named Amina Yambayamba, but officials became suspicious when she couldn't speak French or any other regional languages.

Mapisa-Nqakula later arrived in the DRC with a high-powered delegation and after securing the Wege's release, they continued to Addis Ababa with her for a conference.

The minister says her sole intention was to rescue the woman from an abusive family.