The National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) approved 288 contracting permits for South African manufacturers worth R79.8 billion last year, which was a significant drop from the previous year.
Figures released to parliament showed the permits applied to about 70 countries. The NCACC also approved 2 110 import permits that included 195 machineguns worth R172 473 from Zimbabwe. Export permits of R3.1 billion were approved last year.
Last year’s figures are down significantly compared to 2012, when 398 contracting permits worth R171 billion were approved. 3 663 export permits worth R10.6 billion were approved in 2012.
Last year exports to the United States fell from R5.1 billion to R600 million, most likely as a result of their withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan and the subsequent oversupply of armoured vehicles on the global market.
Some of the exports last year included an order worth R71 million from the United Nations for Casspir armoured personnel carriers; an order from Sweden for 161 RG-32 Scout vehicles, and an order for 12 armoured combat vehicles valued at R42.3 million from Equatorial Guinea.
NCACC chair, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, said armoured personnel carriers and other armoured vehicles were exported to countries such as Benin, Finland, Ghana, Malawi, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Radio equipment and computers to the value of R18.7 million were exported to Egypt.
Bombs and rockets were supplied to Botswana, Denmark, the Philippines, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and ammunition was exported to Botswana, Chad (7 100 rounds of 90 mm ammunition, to the value of R25.9 million), Lesotho, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Turkey the UAE and Zambia, reports Business Day.
The NCACC report noted that a Crusader Mk VI tank was donated by the Department of Defence to Jordan.
Radebe, in a letter to parliament, said the annual report covering January 1, 2013, to December 1, 2013, for the first time provides more detail about arms sales as required by the amended NCAC Act, reports Business Day.
“We welcome the NCACC’s new enhanced annual reports, which now disclose significantly more information on conventional arms transfers to Parliament. These reports will go a long way to improve levels of transparency and accountability of the defence industry in SA,” said opposition Democratic Alliance party shadow defence minister David Maynier, who cautioned that the numerous “highly questionable conventional arms transfers” needed to be scrutinised.
In 2011 the NCACC issued 369 contracting permits worth R32.59 billion and3 672 export permits worth R9.18 billion. For 2010, the NCACC issued 345 contracting permits worth R27.7 billion and 3 536 export permits worth R8.3 billion. It approved contracting permits worth R82.5 billion for the calendar year 2009, which was over four times more than the R19.586 billion for the 2008 calendar year.