Arms Deal Commission wants more money and time


The investigation into the controversial multi-billion Rand arms deal will cost several million more than was originally budgeted.

Seriti Commission spokesman William Baloyi told Afrikaans daily Beeld that the R40 million given to the Arms Procurement Commission to do its work would not be sufficient.

The Commission, under the chairmanship of Judge Willie Seriti, was established by President Zuma to investigate allegations of fraud, corruption, impropriety or irregularity into what is officially the Strategic Defence Procurement Package, better known as the Arms Deal.

It started work late in 2011 and has been given two years to complete its investigations and present a report to the President.

Late last month the Commission announced a five month delay in its first round of public hearings, due to have started in Pretoria on March 4.

According to Beeld, the Commission admitted it will not make the two year deadline.

Baloyi is reported as having said: “We have not yet applied for an extension, but it is clear we will have to lodge this request”.

Long-time anti-arms deal campaigner Terry Crawford-Browne said the latest developments were an indication of the “chaos” prevalent at the Commission and a deliberate tactic to delay proceedings.

He, along with other high-profile anti-arms deal campaigners including Patricia de Lille, Richard Young and DA shadow defence and military veterans minister David Maynier, were among the 12 witnesses who should have reported for the first day of public hearings on March 4.

Young, whose Cape Town-based company was an unsuccessful tenderer for components of the command and control systems for the frigates acquired as part of the deal, told Beeld the Commission had not achieved much in its 18-month existence to date.
“I don’t know what they have done. It appears R40 million has been wasted. If it has taken so long to get willing witnesses, how long is it going to be before Armscor, the SA Navy, Chippy Schaik, Tony Yengeni and others are called to the witness stand?” Beeld reported him as asking.

Maynier was not surprised by the delay in the public hearings.
“There are mountains of documentation that have to be evaluated and the Commission must be properly resourced to allow it to do its work properly,” he said.

In January, Commission investigator Norman Moabi resigned, arguing there was “a second agenda” at the Pretoria headquartered Commission. He alleged the chairman “controlled” information coming into and going out of the Commission. He also raised concerns that efforts were underway to prevent the whole truth about the Arms Deal being made public.

The Arms Deal saw the SA Air Force and SA Navy obtain new front-line equipment comprising 26 Gripen fighters, 24 Hawk Mk 120 lead-in fighter trainers, 30 A109 Light Utility Helicopters and four Westland Super Lynx maritime helicopters. The Navy regained its blue water capability with four Valour class frigates and three Type 209 diesel-electric submarines.