The scandal that won’t go away

2011-06-25 10:27

Another week, another arms deal exposé.

To those who wished away South Africa’s biggest post-apartheid corruption scandal, it must be clear by now that the legacy of the R70 billion transaction keeps evolving.

No matter what deals were cut by politicians, lawyers and businesspeople in dark corners across the world, the truth has a way of breaking through the suffocating web of lies, time and again.

The arms deal is the poisoned well of South ­African politics, as author Mark Gevisser so aptly put it, and the scandal won’t die until the truth, and nothing but the truth, is revealed.

This week’s revelations that former defence minister Joe Modise,’s adviser, Fana Hlongwane, received between R50 million and R100 million in commissions for driving BAE Systems’ offsets programme raise further questions about the state’s decision last year to drop the case against Hlongwane.

Prosecuting boss Menzi Simelane ­allowed Hlongwane’s hidden millions in Lichtenstein to be released after concluding there was a legitimate contract between Hlongwane and BAE.

By doing so, Simelane took on the role of a judge. We agree with those calling for an urgent judicial commission of inquiry into the arms deal.

Not doing so would make a mockery of our rule of law and hard-won Constitution.

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