Arms deal credits still classified

2014-02-18 00:00

THREE activists against the multi-billion rand arms deal were again frustrated at the Seriti Commission yesterday because the “affordability report” that listed the credits awarded in the arms deal, was still classified as secret.

Despite this secrecy, Andrew Feinstein, Paul Holden and Hennie van Vuuren, who are represented by Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), have written extensively about alleged irregularities concerning the arms deal credits in their books.

Advocate Annemarie de Vos SC yesterday told the commission she wanted to cross-examine Alec Erwin, who was minister of trade and industry during the arms deal, about the credits.

The inter-ministerial committee used the affordability report to decide which arms supplier to award contracts to.

The report showed what credits suppliers had earned with proposed counter trade agreements and investments in exchange for getting contracts to supply arms to SA.

Erwin yesterday testified the committee had sometimes used their discretion in making recommendations to cabinet.

De Vos afterwards told sister paper Beeld the affordability report was an important component in her cross-examination and that the secret classification of the report could limit her questions.

“There are certain clauses in the contracts on which Erwin would be able to give clarity, but now I first have to ask my clients if we must continue,” she said.

Advocate Barry Skinner, one of the evidence leaders, said the report had been submitted for declassification, but the process had not been finalised yet.

Commission chairperson Judge Willie Seriti asked De Vos how it was possible that her clients had a copy of the report before it was declassified.

She said they did not know the report has not yet been declassified.

Erwin earlier cryptically testified the idea behind the counter trade agreements that accompanied the transactions, had partly been to stimulate the local arms industry.

On a national level the agreements also aimed to stimulate jobs outside the military sectors. “In 1999 there were not many foreign investors who wanted to come to South Africa. At the same time we struggled with joblessness.”

Erwin said the counter trade credits earned by the participating companies were awarded using three guidelines. It had to create economic growth, promote investment and stimulate the economy.

He said if a company met all three demands and would also hold benefits for a region, the company would earn credits in all these aspects.

He said it was a dynamic process and the counter trade projects did not form part of the arms deal, although they did form part of the suppliers’ financial obligations.

While many of these projects were not realised, new projects in their stead were successful, he said.

The commission will continue hearing evidence today.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham

Here are just ten of our favourite plus-sized models:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content these holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
How to open a beer bottle without an opener
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.