ANC loath to discuss arms-deal report in the media

The African National Congress (ANC) will not make its arms-deal report public, the ruling party reiterated on Wednesday.


In a statement, the ANC said it noted a call in the media by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) to have the outcome of its arms-deal report made public.


“The ANC is loath to have discussions with its alliance partners in the media.


“Once more we wish to put it on record that the ANC has not commissioned a public report on the arms deal,” the party said.


On Tuesday, Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said that due to public interest in the arms-deal saga, it should be dealt with in an open and transparent manner.


Cosatu is concerned that the report will only be for the internal consumption of members of the ANC national executive committee as its purpose is to inform the new ANC leadership about the arms deal.


The ANC said the findings of its NEC, which has been tasked to compile a factual report on the arms deal, are for its own internal discussions.


“This by no [means] implies that members of the current NEC are not familiar with aspects of the arms deal.


“The NEC simply wants to have a factual report to enable all its members, particularly the new ones, to understand all facts related to the arms deal,” it said.


The ANC called on the leadership of Cosatu and its members to utilise processes and platforms available to engage on issues of mutual concern and interest.


“We hope that our upcoming alliance summit will further serve to have some of these issues addressed in detail,” said the ANC.


Meanwhile, documents from a German probe appear to link members of the Cabinet to arms-deal corruption, Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesperson on the arms deal Eddie Trent said on Wednesday.


He said the DA has come into possession of “highly significant” documents from the chief senior public prosecutor in Germany.


In a letter to Swiss authorities last year, German prosecutors claimed the German Frigate Consortium paid “considerable bribes” to conclude a tender agreement for South Africa’s four corvettes.


“It more specifically alleges that such bribe money was paid to both South African officials and members of Cabinet,” Trent said.


The documents allegedly refer to the establishment of shell companies and other methods of facilitating bribes in the form of commissions.


One such example is a company registered in Liberia through which—according to the German prosecutors—millions of rands directly or indirectly flowed to officials and members of Cabinet.


“The exact timing of the payments and the identities of the recipients are not clear at this stage,” Trent said.


“However, the German investigation is continuing.”


Trent said that in the light of these claims, President Thabo Mbeki has no choice but to immediately appoint a completely independent commission of inquiry to probe the multibillion-rand deal.


The DA will send a copy of the documents to the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Bridgette Mabandla and will ask that she explain exactly how her department intends cooperating with the German investigation.


Trent earlier this week submitted a trio of parliamentary questions for Mbeki on the arms deal.—Sapa

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