Jacob Zuma must be charged for arms deal involvement – Mosiuoa Lekota

2014-06-11 10:43

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Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota is insisting that President Jacob Zuma should still face charges “for things he and [Schabir] Shaik did in Pietermaritzburg” relating to the arms deal.

Human Rights Lawyer Advocate Anna-Marie de Vos asked Lekota at the arms deal commission today why he still held the firm line that Zuma should still be called before a court for his involvement in the arms deal.

Lekota told the commission that there was evidence that Judge Hilary Squires should re-examine relating to Zuma and his relationship with Shaik, who was the president’s financial advisor at the time.

“But that is not what we are here for. The commission is looking at the primary contracts and the two were involved in the secondary contracts,” he said.

Lekota is testifying at the Seriti Commission of Inquiry into the arms deal about his role as the minister of defence from 1999. He took over from the late Joe Modise.

He has held the line that he was not directly involved in the decision-making process. By the time he was appointed as the defence minister, the deals had already been concluded, he said.

“The primary work undertaken by Cabinet on the strategic defence procurement packages had been completed by the time that I was appointed as the minister of defence,” he testified.

De Vos then asked if he was present when the affordability report was tabled because that would mean that he had a role that he played.

The affordability report stated that under the best-case scenarios, the purchase of the three tranches would at best have a neutral effect on the economy. The report also warned that the arms deal would be of no benefit to South Africa’s economy. Analysts also warned the ministers’ committee considering the deal that the national investment projects – which were supposed to create thousands of jobs for South Africans – were not realistic.

But according to Lekota, the committee did consider the report and many others to arrive at their decision.

Lekota also denied that the ANC benefited in any way from the deal. The commission continues with the testimony of Trevor Manuel, who was the minister of finance at the time of the acquisition.

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