Cosatu calls for probe into military plane deal

Cosatu has called for a full investigation into the A400M military transport plane deal, which will reportedly cost the taxpayer an extra R30-billion.

Spokesperson Patrick Craven said on Friday the trade union federation was outraged at what he called “another arms-deal scandal” which could cost South Africans R47-billion.

“The deal, negotiated by the Armscor parastatal in 2005, under former defence minister Terror Lekota and former public enterprises minister Alec Erwin, was for eight A400M military transport aircraft from Airbus at the already exorbitant price of R17-billion,” said Craven.

“It has now emerged that no tenders from other companies were sought, and that Armscor has failed to budget for maintenance costs over the life of the aircraft, which have now added R30-billion to
the bill.”

Craven said while Airbus had called these figures, which Armscor CEO Sipho Thomo reported to Parliament, “wildly exaggerated”, the cost was still a vast amount.

“Ndivhuwo Mabaya, spokesperson for the minister of defence, cannot explain why such a huge deal was concluded without a tender process being carried out, as is the normal rule.

“Inevitably this raises suspicions of the same kind of corruption which has been alleged in relation to the earlier arms deal.”

Craven said the new government found itself sabotaged by decisions taken by its predecessor.

“There appears to have been a culture of impunity in government departments in which certain people were untouchable,” he said.

“The Congress of SA Trade Unions demands a full inquiry into every aspect of this A400M deal and all those responsible for it.” - Sapa

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