Foreign arms sales bring billions to South Africa


Buyers of South African defence industry products last year included Azerbaijan, Burundi, Kenya and Nigeria according to the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) 2015 report, which noted that South Africa exported R2.7 billion worth of arms last year.

The report was recently tabled in Parliament and includes sales to countries involved in conflict. Burundi, where president Pierre Nkurunziza recently extended his term by another five years and where civil war is raging, bought armoured combat vehicles valued at R44 million from South African suppliers.

In addition to armoured combat vehicles worth just on R65 million, South Africa also sold R1.28 million worth of artillery, R9.7 million worth of bombs and ammunition valued at R31.8 million to Nigeria.

South Africa also supplied armoured combat vehicles to MINUSCA, the UN mission in the war-torn Central African Republic (CAR).

In the Middle East the Iraqi government has been fighting Islamist rebels since the fall of Saddam Hussein in the early 2000s. This Middle Eastern country bought South African combat vehicles to the value of just over R160 million and missile launchers worth just on R44 million from South Africa defence industry companies last year.

Azerbaijan bought armoured combat vehicles worth R26.6 million, R16.1 million worth of “heavy weapons” as well as “warning equipment” worth R37.2 million.

In 2014 South Africa exported arms worth R2.98 billion, compared to R3.2 billion the year before and R10.6 billion in 2012, according to the NCACC’s 2014 annual report.

In 2014, South Africa’s defence industry exported 326 armoured vehicles (mainly armoured personnel carriers) to nearly two dozen countries, as well as four mine detection vehicles to Iraq. The biggest buyers were Burkina Faso (31 vehicles), Guinea (32 vehicles), Niger (21 vehicles), Saudi Arabia (100 vehicles), Senegal (39 vehicles) and the United Arab Emirates (26). These vehicles sales amounted to more than R810 million in 2014.