Hlongwane doesn't want face shown

2014-12-11 13:34
Mnr. Fana Hlongwane

Mnr. Fana Hlongwane

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Pretoria - The alleged middleman in the multi-billion rand arms procurement deal of 1999 did not want his pictures published in the media, the Seriti Commission heard on Thursday.

Fana Hlongwane made an application through his advocate Jaap Celliers, SC, to bar the media from showing his picture.

Celliers said this would infringe on his client's safety, privacy and the security of his family, and negatively affect his business.

Having cameras focused on him could also affect the way in which he delivers his testimony.

 "Up until now, there has never been any publication of him in the press and he's able to move around freely," said Celliers, highlighting the fact that his client was a "very private" person.

"If published, everyone in South Africa will recognise him and this will affect his family," he said, adding that there were previous threats made against his client.

No authority outside chambers

Celliers requested commission chairman Willie Seriti to make an order that no pictures be taken of Hlongwane during the proceedings in the auditorium and even in the foyer during adjournments.

Seriti answered that he had no authority outside the chambers.

Several media publications requested an adjournment to consult their editors and lawyers.

They claimed that if granted, this order would infringe on media freedom.

Seriti granted the adjournment.

Hlongwane's testimony could play a crucial role in the proceedings as he served as an arms consultant and adviser to the then defence minister, Joe Modise.

Terms of commission extended

He was scheduled to give evidence at the inquiry's public hearings sitting in Pretoria last month.

At the time, Francois van Zyl SC, who was part of Hlongwane's legal team, told the inquiry that the legal team was not ready to proceed.

The commission is holding public hearings into alleged corruption in the multi-billion rand arms procurement deal, in which government acquired, among other hardware, 26 Gripen fighter aircraft and 24 Hawk lead-in fighter trainer aircraft for the air force, and frigates and submarines for the navy.

The commission was appointed by President Jacob Zuma three years ago.

Zuma recently extended the terms of the commission until 30 April 2015 after which it will be expected to issue a report within a six-month deadline.

Read more on:    willie seriti  |  joe modise  |  fana hlongwane  |  arms deal

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