Refusal to grant access to arms deal information a ‘cover-up’

2011-02-07 13:39

The department of justice and constitutional development’s refusal to grant access to documents relating to the arms deal is part of a cover-up, the Democratic Alliance said today.

This was being done to hide the fact that Menzi Simelane, then director-general of the department, blocked the arms deal investigation being conducted by the Serious Fraud Office in the United Kingdom, said DA defence and military veterans spokesperson David Maynier.

He said the department of justice and constitutional development had refused access to documents on mutual legal assistance arrangements relating to the arms deal, requested in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

It had claimed this was because disclosure could reasonably be expected to prejudice South Africa’s international relations.

In a statement, Maynier said the department had provided no convincing reason, supported by evidence, for refusing access to the documentation.

The refusal to grant access to the documentation amounted to what the Supreme Court of Appeal had referred to as a “perfunctory and dismissive response”.

“The DA has therefore submitted an internal appeal, in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act,” said Maynier.

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