ANCWL backs defence minister over 'smuggled' Burundian woman

The league says media reports that she ‘smuggled’ a woman into the country are ‘insensitive’.

FILE: Police have been asked to investigate whether the minister had violated South Africa's Immigration Act. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL) has come out in support of Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, claiming media reports that she "smuggled" a woman into the country are "insensitive".

Police have been asked to investigate whether the minister had violated South Africa's Immigration Act when she brought a Burundian woman with a fake passport into the country, on an air force jet in January 2014.

The minister claims Michelle Wege, who has been staying with her, was "rescued" from an abusive home.

The league says while it understands the sensitivities around immigration laws, it wants to know why South Africans are not being told the story of the young woman who was allegedly subjected to abuse by her father in Burundi.

The Democratic Alliance's (DA) Kobus Marais, who opened a case against Mapisa-Nqakula this morning, says she should have followed the proper channels in her attempt to help the woman.

"If it was really a humanitarian issue, we believe there should have been an official request."

Wege's father has denied abusing his daughter.

He also told the Sunday Times Wege was romantically involved with the minister's late son.

Meanwhile, Mapisa-Nqakula released a statement today saying she welcomes any inquiry into her actions.