Govt confirms joint military co-operation with Saudi Arabia

2016-04-15 11:05

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Cape Town - The Presidency on Friday confirmed that South Africa is in a joint military co-operation with Saudi Arabia after President Jacob Zuma was photographed touring a weapons factory in which South Africa’s Denel has a 49% stake.

Zuma undertook the tour with Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, who is also Saudi Arabia's Minister of Defence.

The weapons factory is operated by Rheinmetall Denel Munition.

“The visit sought to promote South Africa’s defence military industry and strengthen areas of co-operation in the field of defence procurement partnership between South Africa and Saudi Arabia,” the Presidency said in a statement.

During the visit, Zuma and Bin Salman unveiled a plaque of the military facility, met with and took photographs with personnel and senior management of the Rheinmetall Denel Munition.

On Thursday, News24 reported that one of the pictures showed Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba and State Security Minister David Mahlobo.

Earlier in the week, the Presidency failed to confirm or deny a report, published on Defense News, that Zuma and his Saudi Arabian counterpart had opened the facility.

An earlier statement from the Presidency had stated that relations between South Africa and Saudi Arabia had received a significant boost following Zuma's visit.

"In addition, the two countries agreed to work to ensure closer bilateral intelligence co-operation, in particular in relation to the regional terrorism threat to domestic and regional security and stability," the statement read.

According to Defense News, the factory was expected to produce mortars, artillery shells and aircraft-borne bombs, weighing up to 907kg, which would mainly be mainly used by the Saudi defence forces.

Read more on:    denel  |  jacob zuma  |  saudi arabia  |  military

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