The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) has placed the 1999 Strategic Defence Package (SDP) back on its agenda. The Democratic Alliance says SCOPA will again discuss the matter at a committee meeting later this month.
DA MP and SCOPA member Eddie Trent has welcomed the decision. “The DA has already informed SCOPA that we wish to call a number of people – who range from former members of SCOPA to the National Prosecuting Authority – to give key testimony on the subject of corruption and the Arms Deal (sic).”
“SCOPA has dragged its heels on the matter of the Arms Deal and has made no progress since its February 2008 decision to accept the spirit of the DA`s suggestion to investigate the matter further,” Trent adds.
“In my opinion, the lack of progress on the part of SCOPA is directly linked to the ambivalence surrounding future ANC leadership. Unsure of which ANC faction is going to be in power next year, I believe that certain members of the ANC component are dragging their heels rather than taking decisive action on the Arms Deal, and thus running the risk of making enemies.”
The SDP, in terms of which SA bought four sophisticated frigates, three state-of-the-art submarines, 34 helicopters and about 50 fighter aircraft, has been dogged by controversy for years with allegations and counter-claims of corruption and selective prosecution poisoning political discourse for much of the last decade.