The National Conventional Arms Control Committee approved contracting permits worth R82.5 billion for the calendar year 2009. Figures released to Parliament show the NCACC approved 371 contracts between South African companies and approved authorities in 89 nations.
This is over four times more than the R19.586 billion for the 2008 calendar year. In 2008,the NCACC approved 370 contracts with 90 countries. The figures are down from 388 in 2004 but up from 326 in 2003, the last two years, bar last year, that data are publicly available for.
The NCACC report is dated March 29, placing it just within the timeframe laid down in the National Conventional Arms Control Act that stipulates its tabling in Parliament by March 31. This contrasts with last year’s report that was only tabled in September. The 2003/2004 figures were only tabled in Parliament in August 2005 and made public in 2007. The 2005, 2006 and 2007 reports were tabled in Parliament but are not yet public as they were classified by the NCACC. The 2008 report made it into the public domain despite being classified “confidential”. The Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow defence minister David Maynier said the “NCACC should be complimented for ensuring that this year’s annual report was – for the first time in many years – submitted within the legislative deadline to Parliament.”
The 2009 report gives the full figure for contracting permits a R82 501 892 182. The NCACC adds that last year it registered 85 companies, issued 45 marketing permits as well as 3883 export and 2003 import permits. The latter involved 72 countries and had a value of R3 636 416 687 (R3.6 billion). SA exported to 96 countries in 2009, to the tune of R7 812 176 882 (R7.8 billion).
The figures contrast with 52 marketing permits in 2004 and 47 in 2003. The NCACC also cleared 2895 export permits to 88 states in 2008, worth R5.898 billion versus 2237 in 2004 and 1988 in 2003; as well as 1635 import permits from 61 nations, worth R6.361 billion in 2008, in contrast to 1466 in 2004 and 972 in 2003.
SA`s biggest client in 2009 was again the United States (R2.9 billion, up from R2.6 billion in 2008), followed by Spain (R664.9 million), India (R465.9 million), the United Arab Emirates (R447 million) and Algeria (R382 million). Last year’s top five also included the UAE as well as Britain and Thailand. Algeria and India just fell short.
The DA also commended the NCACC for last year turning down the export of “thousands of 7.62mm sniper rifles to Syria” and an “attempt to export millions of rounds of 9mm and 7.62 mm rounds of ammunition to Zimbabwe.” Maynier, however asked today whether the R2.3 million worth “of conventional weapons – including R1.7 million worth of ‘Category D’ weapons which include riot control products such as tear gas – that were exported to Madagascar, were used during the coup which took place on or about March 16 2009.”
Maynier also asked why more than half of the states “we exported conventional weapons to were considered to be either ‘Partly Free’ or, even worse, ‘Not Free’ in terms of political rights and civil liberties, by Freedom House, when the committee are required to take into account human rights standards before authorising arms export permits.”
Pic: Denel Dynamics Ingwe guided missiles on the assembly lin. The weapon has enjoyed export success.