Thabo Mbeki ignored arms deal advice

2014-05-18 10:00

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Before they finalised a single contract, former president Thabo Mbeki and some of his most powerful Cabinet ministers were explicitly warned the arms deal would be of no benefit to South Africa’s economy.

Analysts also warned the ministers committee considering the deal that the national investment projects – which were supposed to create thousands of jobs for South Africans – were not realistic.

Mbeki, his minister of finance Trevor Manuel and deputy minister of defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota are all expected to take the stand in the first week of June at the Seriti Commission of Inquiry into the multibillion-rand deal. Ronnie Kasrils, who served as deputy to the late defence minister Joe Modise, will also testify.

The analysts warned that:

» South Africa’s government was ­already “edging towards the levels of borrowing and of debt service obligations which the international markets regard as the maximum acceptable, even without the defence procurements”; and

» There was no way to ensure the contractors would meet their obligations and actually create jobs in South Africa.

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