DA, ACDP object to arms deal report

The joint investigating team report into South Africa’s controversial arms deal has been given the nod by the National Assembly, with the exception of the official opposition Democratic Alliance and the African Christian Democratic Party.

Although the Inkatha Freedom Party’s finance spokesperson, Gavin Woods, resigned as chairperson of the standing committee on public accounts over the way the arms deal probe was handled by the multiparty committee, his party did not make a declaration of vote, to use the parliamentary terminology, on the subject.

The DA and ACDP made clear their opposition to accepting the report.

African National Congress chief whip Nathi Nhleko called for the standing committee’s report on the arms deal—the 135th report of the committee by the National Assembly—to be accepted.

South Africa is spending more than R50-billion on arms to re-equip the South African navy and the South African air force, which includes the supply of corvettes, fighter and trainer jets.

The joint investigation team by the auditor general, the public protector and the national director of public prosecutions cleared the government of irregularity in the arms deal in the primary contracts, but did find that tender procedures in some secondary contracts were under question.

The ACDP’s Cheryllyn Dudley told the Assembly that it agreed with Woods’s words—spoken at the height of “this contentious issue”—that: “Given more serious implications for social spending, the fiscus and the macro-economy that the rising cost of the SDP [strategic defence package] could hold, the public should as far as possible be informed as to how much they as the taxpayers will ultimately have to pay and in what other negative ways they could be affected. The significance of these tens of billions of rands is undeniably great.”—I-Net Bridge

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