SA exports 2524 armoured vehicles between 1995 and 2007


South Africa has exported over 2500 new and refurbished armoured personnel carriers, infantry combat vehicles and armoured cars in the last 12 years.

Over half the 2524 vehicles were exported to all corners of the world in 2006 and 2007 alone, according to figures provided to the United Nations.

While the Democratic Alliance (DA) has been condemning the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) for being derelict in tabling South Africa`s arms exports in Parliament as required by the National Conventional Arms Control Act, SA has been providing some information to the UN Conventional Arms Control Register.

According to the DA, the NCACC last published an annual report in 2005. This contained data for 2003 and 2004. The 2005 report was classified “confidential” and the 2006 report “secret”, despite a legal requirement that this be a public document.     

Despite being classified in SA some of the information was provided to the UN and placed in the public domain there. The UN has not yet published SA`s 2008 data, although it has this information for many other counties.

The UN Register tabulates the export of 692 vehicles to seven countries and the UN in 2007. In 2006 620 vehicles were exported to 11 nations and the UN, while nine countries as well as a Norwegian nongovernmental agency received 236 vehicles in 2005. The 2004 figure was 305, also to nine countries and two NGOs.

The UN encourages member states to declare arms exports as well as imports in seven categories:

I           Main Battle Tanks

II          Armoured Combat Vehicles     

III        Large calibre artillery

IV        Combat aircraft

V         Attack helicopters

VI        Warships         

VII       Missiles and missile launchers

There appears to be no special category for small and light weapons (SALW), universally decried as the main killer in African conflicts. Many countries, including, for example, Denmark, still declare SALW sales and purchases.

SA, by contrast, has never disclosed SALW movements, some of which appear to be at the heart of the DA`s concerns, including the alleged sale of assault rifles and grenade launchers to Venezuela and sniper rifles to Syria.

In 2006 SA also disclosed the export of 11 Aermacchi MB326 Impala fighter trainers to Brazil and two Dassault Mirage F1AZ fighters to Gabon. The year before SA had also sold Brazil nine Impala Mk I and three Impala Mk II fighter trainers. In 2004, SA had exported three non-airworthy Cheetah E fighter airframes to Chile. This was in addition to two delivered the year before.

2003 also saw the export of six G5 155mm towed gun-howitzers to Malaysia and five Seeker 2 unmanned aerial vehicles to the United Arab Emirates. The Malaysian delivery followed 10 guns delivered in September 2001 and 12 in July 2002. Also in 2002, SA delivered a surplus Impala Mk II to Cameroon.

Other exports listed was the donation of 24 G2 140mm howitzers to Namibia in 1998 and the sale of 18 G6 self-propelled gun-howitzers to Oman in 1996.                

The UN Register only reflects declared imports from 2003, noting in addition to Strategic Defence Package purchases the import of 100 102mm Super Palisade chaff rockets for the SA Navy from Britain in 2007 and 96 Thales Starstreak very short-range air defence missiles for the SA Army in 2005.  

Pic: A Casspir APC in Ugandan service as part of the AU Mission in Somalia.