Arms inquiry: Mbeki to be represented by state

In August, Thabo Mbeki withdrew his legal representation from the commission pending finalisation of assistance from the State. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

In August, Thabo Mbeki withdrew his legal representation from the commission pending finalisation of assistance from the State. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

Former President Thabo Mbeki and his former ministers have agreed to being represented by a State attorney at the Seriti Commission of Inquiry, the justice department said on Sunday.

"They have agreed to a State attorney facilitating their collective legal representation through the appointment of advocate [Marumo] Moerane SC who will lead the legal team during the proceedings," department spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said.

"We trust that the former president and former ministers will be well represented throughout the proceedings."

The commission, chaired by Judge Willie Seriti, is investigating allegations of corruption in South Africa's multi-billion rand arms deal.

In August, Mbeki withdrew his legal representation from the commission pending finalisation of assistance from the State.

Mbeki, Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel, former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils, former public enterprises minister Alec Erwin and Congress of the People president Mosiuoa Lekota are all set to testify at the commission.

The deal, which was initially estimated to cost R43-billion, has dogged South Africa's politics since it was signed in 1999, after then Pan Africanist Congress MP Patricia de Lille raised allegations of corruption in Parliament.

Zuma himself was once charged with corruption after his financial adviser Schabir Shaik, who had a tender to supply part of the requirements, was found to have facilitated a bribe for him from a French arms company.

The charges against Zuma were later dropped.

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