Arms commission to 'rid SA of albatross'
Cape Town - Allegations surrounding the arms deal, or the strategic defence initiative, have been in the public domain since the dawn of democracy and have hung like an albatross around the country's neck, says Justice & Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe.
Speaking at media conference on Thursday, Radebe announced the terms of reference to the commission that would investigate the allegations of corruption that have surrounded the deal since 1996.
Originally the deal was valued at R29bn over 12 years, however, recent estimates show that it had ballooned to more than R40bn.
The terms of reference for the commission are that it would have to take into account the rationale for the arms deal and whether the arms and equipment acquired were under-utilised or not utilised at all.
The commission has also to consider if job opportunities that were anticipated to flow from the deal materialised.
Offsets, the industrial participation by the arms suppliers, will also have to be investigated and if they materialised at all.
Finally, the commission would have to look at whether any person or persons, within or outside of government improperly influenced the award or conclusion of any of the contracts awarded and whether legal proceedings should be instituted against such persons.
The terms of reference also state that the commission should look into if there was any basis for the recovery of any losses the state may have suffered.
Radebe said the commission would be based in Johannesburg and his department had allocated a budget of R40m for the commission.