Minister mum on 'spy' satellite

2014-01-23 14:34
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula (Picture: AFP)

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula (Picture: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says she will not be drawn into public discussion on Project Flute, the name of a secret contract reportedly involving a Defence Intelligence satellite.

"The minister... has refused to be drawn into discussing matters of security of the state in the public domain," her ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

This follows calls by opposition MPs for Mapisa-Nqakula to clarify whether reports that a R1.2bn South African "spy" satellite is set to be launched next month are correct.

In a statement on Wednesday, DA MP David Maynier said the minister "must tells us whether the Kondor-E satellite, reportedly scheduled to be launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan, on 27 February, is being launched for Defence Intelligence".

Maynier said it was known that in 2006, at an initial cost of R1.2bn, a contract was signed with a Russian company - NPO Mashinostroyenia - to develop a Kondor-E radar imaging satellite for Defence Intelligence under Project Flute.

African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) MP Cheryllyn Dudley on Wednesday also questioned the project, seemingly funded by Mapisa-Nqakula's department through a secret account.

"The ACDP has called on the minister of defence to account for the spending and clarify the situation regarding the alleged development and existence of a secret spy satellite costing more than a billion rand," she said in a statement at the time.

Defence budget

Dudley said scrutiny of defence department budgets between 2006/07 and 2013/14 apparently showed Defence Intelligence "had channelled R2.87bn through the secret Special Defence Account, some of which is going to 'development of a strategic information collection capability'".

In its statement on Thursday, the defence ministry said care had to be taken "to ensure that information that secures our territorial integrity should not be compromised simply to gain political points".

It said Mapisa-Nqakula had "once again vowed to protect the SANDF [SA National Defence Force] as a national asset that serves all South Africans without being subjected to political manipulation of any kind".

Further, the minister was dismayed "at attempts by those who seem to want to undermine our security and information, and questioned whose interests they serve".

It said members of Parliament were fully aware of parliamentary protocols and procedures in raising or discussing sensitive matters of such a nature.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    da  |  acdp  |  sandf  |  nosiviwe mapisa-nqakula  |  privacy  |  politics
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

De Allende's star burns bright
Boks were 'in a dark space'
Pacific island teams singled out for rough tactics?
Ireland favourites but France bullish
Traffic Alerts

Passion is the name of the game. Love is not an intellectual study, but an experience from heart level. You have the tendency more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.