Zim helicopter review postponed

2013-03-27 15:59

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Johannesburg - A court review into the SANDF's plan to send helicopters to Zimbabwe has been postponed until next month, civil society organisation AfriForum said on Wednesday.

"The matter was postponed by agreement of all the parties. The minister of defence was not ready," said AfriForum's legal representative Willie Spies.

He said the review would be heard on 18 April in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

In late February, an interim court order to stop the proposed delivery of South Africa's fleet of Alouette III helicopters and its spares to the Zimbabwean Air Force was confirmed.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) and the secretary of defence did not oppose the granting of a final interdict.

The interdict stands pending the completion of AfriForum's application to review the SANDF's decision to donate the military equipment to its neighbouring country.

On Wednesday, Spies said the defence minister had filed papers detailing the decision-making process to the court.

He said the review AfriForum wanted would essentially ask the court to investigate whether the SANDF's decision was a lawful one.

AfriForum believed it contravened the public finance management act, which stipulated that no donation can be made unless certain procedures were followed.

Spies said his organisation also wanted to investigate if laws were adhered to which required a permit before conventional arms can be exported.

The Alouette helicopters were in service in the SA Air Force for over 40 years, but became obsolete with the arrival of a fleet of Italian-made helicopters procured as part of the controversial arms deal.

Members of the opposition have expressed concern that the donation of the helicopters would send out a message that the South African government condoned the use of force by the Zimbabwean Defence Force to return President Robert Mugabe to power in the upcoming elections in that country.

Read more on:    afriforum  |  sandf  |  nosiviwe mapisa-nqakula  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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