South Africa lawmaker challenges arms sale to Libya


A South African opposition lawmaker was ejected from parliament after suggesting a minister had “blood on his hands” for authorising the sale of arms to Libya.

David Maynier, a member of the opposition Democratic Alliance, was ordered to leave after asking Justice Minister Jeff Radebe for details of the sale of weapons to Colonel Muammar Gadaffi’s forces in the past few years.
“Will the honourable minister not tell us in plain language with a simple Yes or No, whether he authorised the export of more than 100 sniper rifles and more than 50,000 rounds of ammunition to Libya in 2010, and if the answer is Yes, will the honourable minister tell this house what it feels like to have blood on his hands,” Maynier said.

His comments were ruled “out of order” and he was asked to leave the chamber by the presiding officer after refusing to retract the remarks.

Radebe, who also serves as chairman of the National Conventional Arms Control Committee, told parliament earlier that South Africa had, among others, sold shotguns, laser range-finders and night vision equipment to Libya worth 80 million rand between 2003 and 2009.

He did not respond on the sniper rifles and ammunition.

Maynier said the minister had “finally confessed” to selling the arms to Libya, despite legislation regulating conventional arms sales that bars trade with states engaged in repression, aggression or terrorism.