Don’t do defence deals in the dark


With only days before public hearings into the Arms Deal start to attempt yet another unravelling of exactly what went on during the acquisition process that re-equipped the air force and navy, those responsible for the apparent current round of acquisitions would be well advised not to operate in the dark and behind closed doors.

The can of worms that followed the Strategic Defence Procurement Package should clearly point to transparency being the way to go.

Add to this the warning issued by top defence analyst Helmoed Romer Heitman. He said the secrecy around most acquisition projects is unnecessary “to the point of being silly”.
“All it does is feed conspiracy theories and set up future contracts for claims of corruption by the losing bidders.”
defenceWeb couldn’t agree more.

The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) is already overstretched and in dire need of new equipment to properly execute tasks allotted it by government. Our soldiers and those in command of them do not need equipment that is in any way tainted by the possibility of corruption or fraud.

The Defence Ministry is reportedly planning acquisitions but closed meetings and a veil of unnecessary secrecy are not going to improve the status of the SANDF, the Defence Ministry or Armscor, the government agency tasked with defence procurement, in the eyes of South Africans.

Especially not when proceedings that get underway in Pretoria on Monday will serve as a stark reminder to what can happen when the concept of “defence in a democracy” is put aside.