The National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) has, in the wake of the Gaza conflict, reiterated that South Africa does not supply weaponry to Israel.
Advocate Ezra Jele, Head of Secretariat of the NCACC, told City Press that export “applications for countries that are in conflict will not meet the criteria of the [NCACC] act since this is proscribed and, therefore, would not be eligible to be considered by the cabinet committee. Further to that, the NCACC abides strictly by the amended National Arms Control Act (Act 41 of 2002) and the regulation and control lists from the Framework of Arms Prevention Control.”
Section 15 of the Act states that when considering an export application, the NCACC has to avoid transfers of conventional arms that are likely to contribute to the escalation of regional military conflicts by introducing destabilising military capabilities into a region, or would otherwise contribute to regional instability. The NCACC also prohibits the transfer of weapons to countries that abuse human rights or wage war against their own citizens.
Jele said any arms exported to Israel or any other country would have to go through the rigorous NCACC approval process.
His comments come after anti-Israeli protestors gathered in front of Paramount’s Midrand campus on 10 November claiming to be part of the ‘Workers in Palestine International Call to Action to stop the arming of Israel’. In an anonymous statement the group of protesters alleged that Paramount is involved in ‘arming Israel and has been involved in war crimes and corruption’.
“Paramount has never supplied military equipment to Israel,” the company said in a statement. “South Africa’s arms control body, the National Conventional Arms Control Committee, controls the export of all defence equipment by defence companies in South Africa. Their publicly available records can confirm the facts.
“For several decades the company has been a proud defence and aerospace technology partner of many Arab governments, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jordan and Oman.
“Paramount is headquartered in the UAE. There are no links between Paramount’s South African operations and the office in Israel that was established in compliance with the policy of the UAE government and as a direct result of the Abraham Accords. It is a technical liaison office with no sales function.”
The Paramount statement notes that company founder Ivor Ichikowitz being “of Jewish faith” as the “only explanation” for it being targeted by anti-Israel protesters adding this is “blatantly and disturbingly anti-Semitic”.
Adding to Jele’s comments, Armscor confirmed it had also not supplied weapons to Israel. Armscor, via its Senior Manager: Corporate Communication Liziwe Nkonyana, emphasised in a statement it has “no contact” with Israel.
Nokonyana emphasised Armscor complies with the “very strict control regime implemented by the National Conventional Arms Control Committee,” and “executes its mandate in accordance with the national security interest of the Republic [of South Africa] and applicable government policy in this regard.”