The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) needs a policy on monitoring trade with countries that have been placed under sanctions regimes, especially by the United Nations. The opposition Democratic Alliance party’s Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans David Maynier says the DTI needs a major policy overhaul to prevent sanctions busting by South African companies.
“At a minimum there should be an obligation on the DTI to notify the National Conventional Arms Control Committee of the export of any suspected ‘dual use goods’ to countries under United Nations arms embargoes,” he said in a statement.
Maynier added the Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies “should be complimented for ordering a forensic investigation into the provision of so-called letters of support by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to 360 Aviation, a company doing business in possible violation of a United Nations arms embargo on Iran.
This led to the the DTI’s Deputy Director General: Trade and Industry South Africa, Pumla Ncapayi, commissioning a forensic investigation into the letters on March 20. This followed a report in the Sunday Times, published on March 11, which revealed inter alia that the DTI provided a company called 360 Aviation with three letters of support between 2008 and 2011 to supply helicopters and helicopter parts to Iran. Such exports, had they taken place, may have been in possible violation of a United Nations arms embargo on Iran.
“The report also provides very worrying insights into the inner workings of the DTI, said Maynier. “There appears to be no proper control over the various divisions and sections within the DTI. The DTI’s Trade and Investment: South Africa division appears to have operated in isolation from the rest of the department. The division provided letters of support to 360 Aviation without consulting senior departmental officials or the minister; without conducting a ‘due diligence’ on the company; and without consulting the NCACC, despite the United Nations arms embargo on Iran. Ironically, the division was bending over backwards to support 360 Aviation to do business in Iran at the very same time the department was closing its foreign economic office in Iran.
“In the end, the letters of support risked drawing the DTI into what would have amounted to state-sponsored sanctions busting in Iran,” he continues.