SA planned to sell equipment worth R6 billion to Libya


Last year Denel was busy finalising a deal with Libya to sell billions of rands worth of military hardware to the country, including G6-52 artillery systems, missiles, grenade launchers and anti-material rifles.

The Mail & Guardian obtained an internal Denel memo outlining a successful arms sales trip to Libya last year, which the newspaper says describes the negotiations as ‘close to a done-deal’.
“The MOU is initiated and will be signed in due course. The trip received the blessing from both the presidencies. The Brother Leader also stressed the importance of having Africans trading within the continent,” the memo reads. “The president of Libya and his South African counterpart will sign within the coming year.” The memo added that the Libyans were willing to pay half the contract in advance.

The value of the weapons Libya would have received amounts to R6.289 billion, City Press reports.

Today Denel strongly denied that it had sold weapons to the north African nation. Denel acting group communications manager Pamela Malinda told Sapa that, “no contracts and deals were concluded”.

She confirmed that Denel representatives had visited Libya last year “to explore the opportunities for the marketing of defence products.” A delegation, including Colonel Trevor Mketi, director of the department of defence’s Defence Industries, and Prosper Ladisias Agbesi, CEO of Basic Commodities CEO, was invited to Libya.

Denel marketing executive Thabo Skosana was one of the delegates who visited Libya on 9-12 April, the Mail & Guardian reports.

However, one deal that did go ahead was with Mechem, a subsidiary of Denel, for “training on de-mining equipment,” City Press reports.

For the time being no further arms sales will be possible as South Africa’s National Conventional Arms Control Act does not allow sales to governments that violate or suppress human rights and basic freedoms. In late February the United Nations voted to impose an arms embargo on Libya.

South Africa exported R80.9 million worth of military equipment to Gaddaf between 2003 and 2009. Acording to government this included shotguns, military vehicles, ammunition, parachutes and night vision equipment.