The Presidency has taken exception to comments made about the final report of the Seriti Commission saying the Democratic Alliance (DA) “attacked a report they have not even seen”.
Media liaison director for the Presidency, Bongani Majola, said in a statement David Maynier, the former DA shadow defence and military veterans minister who had also given evidence to the Arms Deal Commission, had reacted in an “unwarranted, shocking, irresponsible and totally unacceptable” manner when the report was handed to President Jacob Zuma.
“The party has cast aspersions on the integrity of two senior judges who have worked meticulously for four years to uncover what exactly happened around the arms procurement process. The report has also not been released to the public yet. The DA is thus attacking a report they have not even seen. Parties represented in parliament should play their part in promoting support and respect for the judiciary and all institutions of our constitutional democracy at all times,” Majola said in a statement.
While the terms of reference of the Seriti commission which investigated allegations of bribery, corruption and impropriety in the late nineties multi-billion Rand arms acquisition do not compel Zuma to make the report public the latest Presidency statement indicates it could well become a public document although no timeframe is specified.
The commission was brought into being in 2011 with a two year lifespan and a R40 million budget. This was later extended to four years with additional funding. The Commission, according to the answer to a Parliamentary question, cost South African taxpayers over R110 million.
The SA Air Force (SAAF) was the largest beneficiary of the Strategic Defence Procurement Packages (SDPPs) adding 26 Gripen fighters, 24 Hawk lead-in fighter trainers, 30 Agusta light utility helicopters and four Super Lynx maritime helicopters to its inventory. The SA Navy re-acquired its blue water capability when four Valour Class frigates and three Type 209 Heroine Class submarines were approved as part of the overall SDPP.