Scandal looms over missing spy satellite

2014-01-19 08:42
DA (Supplied)

DA (Supplied)

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Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance is determined to unravel the mystery of the whereabouts of a R1.2bn satellite that South Africa commissioned from a Russian company eight years ago.

According to the Sunday Times, the deal was struck in May 2006 and was known as Project Flute. DA MP David Maynier told the newspaper that he suspects the project will turn out to be one of the biggest scandals to hit SA.

He said current and former cabinet ministers need to answer questions around the issue and to say whether there is a reconnaissance satellite in space that was commissioned by SA; who has control over it and what systems are in place to protect the privacy of South African citizens.

The satellite commissioned is a Kondor-E which is often used for spying. It can collect radar images, even at night and through cloud cover, of objects as small as cars.

South Africa has however launched three previous satellites. In November last year a micro satellite built by local experts was launched in Russia. This will focus on collecting data on space weather.

Students at the French South African Institute of Technology Institute (F'SATI) located at CPUT campus in Bellville built the micro satellite with support from the South African National Space Agency (Sansa) and the department of science and technology.

Read more on:    da  |  david maynier
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