Manuel rejects arms deal claims

2014-06-12 16:21
Trevor Manuel (Sapa)

Trevor Manuel (Sapa)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - Former finance minister Trevor Manuel on Thursday rejected claims he had said there were problems with the arms deal but they would not be uncovered.

Anna-Marie de Vos, for Lawyers for Human Rights, cross-examined Manuel at the Seriti Commission of Inquiry in Pretoria into the 1999 multi-billion rand arms deal about his meeting with former ANC MP and author Andrew Feinstein in November 2001.

De Vos said Feinstein alleged Manuel had said: "We all know JM [former defence minister Joe Modise]... It is possible there was some shit in the deal. If there was, no one will ever uncover it, just let it lie."

"Do you admit that you said this to Mr Feinstein?" De Vos asked.

"Mr Feinstein told this commission that he doesn't recall this discussion," Manuel replied.

"It is his word against mine. Did he confirm to Ms De Vos that JM was Julius Malema or Jabu Moleketi? We could have been talking about anybody we knew.

"I did not say those words, and I am under oath," he said.

Asked whether he still remembered his meeting with Feinstein, Manuel said: "I even remember what he ate that day."

"You asked to have lunch with Mr Feinstein. About that meeting, he wrote in his book: 'I was encouraged by rumours that he had never supported the arms deal in Cabinet, primarily concerned with its impact on fiscal stability'," De Vos said.

"What do you say about the fact that there are rumours you did not support the arms deal in Cabinet? Newspaper articles quoted various people saying you were against the amount that was going to be spent."

Manuel said finance ministers were a special breed of people.

"They don't like parting with money. They argue the same whether it is the department of education, health, or anybody."

De Vos asked Manuel about an HIV-related quote attributed to him in Feinstein's book.

"The issue that Mr Feinstein withdrew from his book is a suggestion that I addressed a secret meeting in Parliament. Parliament does not have secret meetings. It is alleged I said we should not give ARVs to people who are HIV positive because they are dying anyway.

"That is so pernicious and evil, impossible to contemplate, and certainly not part of my DNA. It so offended me and every part of my being that I sought to have it excised from the book."

Manuel concluded his evidence. The inquiry was adjourned and will resume on a date to be announced.

Former president Thabo Mbeki was scheduled to testify after Manuel but this was postponed because his mother Epainette died on Saturday.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the commission in 2011 to investigate alleged corruption in the multi-billion rand deal.

Government acquired, among other hardware, 26 Gripen fighter aircraft and 24 Hawk lead-in fighter trainer aircraft for the air force, and frigates and submarines for the navy.

Read more on:    trevor manuel  |  arms deal

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.
NEXT ON NEWS24X 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

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

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.