No arms sold to Libya: Denel

2011-04-01 12:46

Arms manufacturer Denel on today emphatically denied it, or its subsidiaries, had sold armaments to Libya following a sales trip to that country a year ago.

“Not at all,” the company’s acting group communications manager Pamela Malinda told Sapa when asked whether any such sales had taken place.

Earlier today, the Mail & Guardian published details from a leaked Denel internal memo outlining a visit to Libya in April last year, which involved the “planned sale of G6-52 artillery systems, missiles, grenade launchers and anti-materiel rifles”.
The business opportunities for Denel in Libya amounted to R6.289 billion.

The report quotes Malinda saying Denel representatives had visited Libya “to explore the opportunities for the marketing of defence products”.

Malinda confirmed to Sapa this was correct, but repeated that, with one exception, “no contracts and deals were concluded”.

The exception was a contract struck with Denel subsidiary Mechem for “training on de-mining equipment”.

Mechem specialises in the clearance of land mines. The company also builds mine protected vehicles such as the Casspir.

According to the Mail & Guardian report, quoting from the memo, the arms sale was almost a done deal after discussions with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

“The trip received the blessing from both the presidencies ... The Brother Leader also stressed the importance of having Africans trading within the continent.”

President Jacob Zuma has been criticised for supporting a United Nations Security Council resolution for a no-fly zone over Libya, where rebels are trying to topple the long-time leader Gaddafi.

The resolution led to Nato-led air raids on the north African country.

The South African government yesterday called for restraint to avoid further civilian casualties in Libya and rejected efforts to use the crisis to effect regime change. 

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