A Parliamentary oversight committee heard the South African defence industry (SADI) exported military hardware and munitions to 70 plus countries with a monetary value in excess of R1.4 billion in the first six months of this year.
The information formed part of a presentation to the Joint Standing Committee on Defence (JSCD) by Advocate Ezra Jele, National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) Secretariat Head.
His presentation, in line with the legislated and regulatory prescripts the NCACC adheres to, was separated into the first two quarters of this year and gave broad outlines with no specifics on, for example, what types and calibres of munitions were exported to what countries.
South Africa’s military hardware and munitions makers exported “product”, approved by 273 permits, to 70 countries in the first half of 2022. The presentation does not state whether permits were approved to the same countries for the first and second quarters.
In Rand terms, military hardware and munitions exports earned their manufacturers R833 million in the first quarter and R570 million in the second.
The figures are not for dual use items, listed separately and, according to the NCACC, for technology and software as examples. In the first quarter of 2022, 29 dual use authorisations were approved to 13 countries, amounting to R52 million. For the second quarter, 27 export authorisations were issued to 21 countries, amounting to R196 million.
NCACC permits indicate the manufacturer/supplier meets with a number of safeguards, including United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, governance particularly as regards human rights and politics, “national interest” as well as the “risk of diversion/proliferation” to “non-state actors”.
The NCACC maintains these and other criteria are applied when authorising “transfer of controlled items”. A presentation note has it “Given the global temperature in the world as regards conflict, for example Syria and the forays of ISIS, careful consideration has to be had when authorising these transfers for export (sic)”.
The NCACC listed defence imports into South Africa as well. In the first quarter of 2022, 58 import permits from 11 countries worth R36 million were approved while in the second quarter, 74 import permits from 16 countries worth R74 million were approved.
For the 2021 calendar year, the NCACC reported the South African defence industry exported R3.3 billion worth of weapons, ammunition and military equipment to 67 countries around the world.