Cabinet nods NCACC arms sales decisions

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Cabinet has “noted” the arms sales authorised by the National Conventional Arms Control (NCACC) over the period July to September 2010 and according to a statement released today has endorsed the arms transfer decisions taken by the NCACC as mandated by the provisions of the National Arms Control Act.

“Section 23 of the Act requires the NCACC to present to Cabinet and Parliament reports on South African arms transfers conducted and that such reports will be made public,” a Cabinet statement adds.

Cabinet made a similar announcement in September, with its spokesman, Themba Maseko, saying the “report will be submitted to Parliament as required by the National Conventional Arms Control Act and will be published soon thereafter.” It is not clear this ever happened, with neither Freedom Front Plus defence spokesman Pieter Groenewald nor Democratic Alliance defence shadow David Maynier having any recollection of the report.

The NCACC tabled its annual report for calendar year 2009 in April this year. This noted that the committee, headed by Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Jeff Radebe approved contracting permits worth R82.5 billion for that year. Figures showed the NCACC approved 371 contracts between South African companies and approved authorities in 89 nations. This was 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 was 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 the 2008 report that was only tabled in September 2009, apparently in breach of the law. The 2003/2004 figures were only tabled in Parliament in August 2005 and made public in 2007. The 2005, 2006 and 2007 reports were apparently tabled in Parliament but are not yet public as they were classified by the NCACC – in what appears a violation of the law that states these are public documents and therefore not subject to classification.

The 2008 report made it into the public domain despite being classified “confidential”.



Pic: An Ivema Gila MRAP for the export market