Call for South African government to publish arms procurement report

16 January 2016

South Africa’s main opposition party has called for the country’s Arms Procurement Commission report to be made public.

The country’s shadow minister for finance, Democratic Alliance member David Maynier, said the final Arms Procurement Commission report into allegations of corruption surrounding a R30.3bn (£1.29bn) payment made in 1999 by the African National Congress government to modernise defence equipment, should be published “in the public interest”.

President Jacob Zuma commissioned the inquiry in November 2011, appointing judge Willie Seriti chair and judge Thekiso Musi commissioner. He received the final report – formally known as the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of Fraud, Corruption, Impropriety or Irregularity in the Strategic Defence Procurement Package – in December 2015, but is not obliged to make it public.

Maynier said: “The Arms Procurement Commission has taken more than four years to complete its work, and has cost an absolute fortune: more than R100m [£4.3m].”

He added: “Expectations are that, at least when it comes to the crucial question of whether the arms deal was tainted by fraud and corruption, the final report will be a whitewash and that those who were alleged to have been involved in arms deal corruption, including president Jacob Zuma himself, have nothing to fear.”

The South African government described the statement as “unwarranted, shocking, irresponsible and unacceptable”.

“The party has cast aspersions on the integrity of two senior judges who have worked meticulously for four years to uncover what exactly happened around the arms procurement process,” a statement from the president’s office read.

“The report has also not been released to the public yet. The DA is thus attacking a report they have not even seen. Parties represented in parliament should play their part in promoting support and respect for the judiciary and all institutions of our constitutional democracy at all times,” it stated.

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