Brace for a riveting arms deal inquiry

2011-10-29 08:12

There are a number of reasons to be critical of the terms of reference for the Seriti ­Commission of Inquiry into the arms deal.

It doesn’t explicitly state that all hearings will be open to the public, it doesn’t include probing previous (flawed) investigations into the deal and, oddly enough, it threatens people who criticise the ­commission’s findings with prison sentences.

However, there are many more reasons to celebrate this week’s announcement. A thorough judicial investigation into the R60?billion-transaction has long been written off by critics of the deal.

They had made peace with the fact that only Schabir Shaik and Tony Yengeni – two relatively small fish in the process – were punished by the ­criminal justice system for their misdemeanours.

Now the possibility of action against bigger players is real. Hearing former president Thabo Mbeki, ­President Jacob Zuma and arms deal playboy Fana Hlongwane testify in the open is no longer a fantasy.

Fasten your seat belts. It’s gonna be a bumpy, yet fascinating, ride.

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