Cosatu unhappy that arms deal probe stopped

2010-10-19 08:40

Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi was upset about the arms deal probe being scrapped, saying the flawed deal had made many rich on the sidelines, The Times reported today.

“Cosatu is extremely worried that investigations into the arms deal will be closed down. There is no doubt in our minds that a lot of corruption happened in the procurement process,” said Vavi at a lecture in Khayelitsha in honour of housing activist Irene Grootboom.

He said the deal had cost more than R67 billion and had made “a number of fat cats extremely rich in the process”.

The Mail & Guardian reported last week that the last two main inquiries had been shut down by Hawks head Anwa Dramat.

The lengthy investigation had, at one time, seen President Jacob Zuma and French arms company Thales charged with corruption, after Zuma’s former financial adviser Schabir Shaik was jailed in part for facilitating a bribe to Zuma from an arms company.

The Times also reported that Vavi said South Africa’s economic direction was the same as that followed by the apartheid government.

“All we have done is change the skin colour of the driver but, in terms of economic policy, the direction remains the same as the one the apartheid regime was travelling, which was inspired by [former British prime minister] Margaret Thatcher.

“I talk here of the discredited Washington consensus that is based on the supremacy of the markets and the very limited role of the state.”

Vavi said there had to be differences between the policies of the ruling African National Congress and the opposition Democratic Alliance, which runs the Western Cape.

Grootboom took a case to the Constitutional Court, which ruled the homeless are entitled to decent shelter which includes water, until they receive a permanent home. She died before receiving her own house, many years after the judgment.

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