SA sold arms worth R70-million to Libya

The National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) annual report for 2010 showed that South Africa sold weapons to Libya worth about R70-million last year, the Sunday Independent reported.

This included Category A weapons worth R1,9-million, Category B weapons worth R10,7-million and Category C weapons worth R56,2-million.

NCACC chairperson and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said South Africa exported arms worth R80,9 million to Libya between 2003 and 2009.

He refused to say whether more weapons went to Libya last year ahead of that country’s civil unrest.

South African law prohibits the sale of weapons to countries where they may contribute to repression, human rights violations or were likely to escalate regional military conflicts, endanger peace or threaten regional stability.

The NCACC was supposed to oversee weapons and military equipment transactions to ensure this did not happen.

Last year the government approved the sale of more than R35-billion worth of military hardware to 78 of the world’s most repressive regimes, according to the report.

In addition, it approved 345 weapons contracts with 83 countries worth R27,7-billion as well as 3 536 arms export permits worth R8,3-billion and allowed imports from 69 countries in deals worth R3,9-billion.

Officially sanctioned weapons exports included: Algeria (R158,3-million), Azerbaijan (R119,1-million), Burundi (R119,1-million), Equatorial Guinea (R5,8-million), Pakistan (R34,6-million), China (R60,5-million) and Saudi Arabia (R68,2-million).

Denel denies sales to Libya
Arms manufacturer Denel on April 1 denied it, or its subsidiaries, had sold armaments to Libya following a sales trip to the country a year ago.

“Not at all,” the company’s acting group communications manager, Pamela Malinda, told the South African Press Association (Sapa) when asked whether any such sales had taken place.

The Mail & Guardian published details on April 1 from a leaked Denel internal memo outlining a visit to Libya in April last year, which involved the “planned sale of G6-52 artillery systems, missiles, grenade launchers and anti-materiel rifles”.

The business opportunities for Denel in Libya amounted to R6 289-million.

The report quotes Malinda saying Denel representatives had visited Libya “to explore the opportunities for the marketing of defence products”.

Malinda confirmed to Sapa this was correct, but repeated that, with one exception, “no contracts and deals were concluded”.

The exception was a contract struck with Denel subsidiary Mechem for “training on de-mining equipment”.

Mechem specialises in the clearance of landmines. The company also builds mine-protected vehicles such as the Casspir. - Sapa and Staff reporter

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