AllAfrica.com

PRESS RELEASE

Tomorrow the Arms Procurement Commission begins public hearings into what appears to be the biggest corruption scandal in the history of South Africa.

One of the effects of the arms deal scandal was to destroy any scrutiny and oversight of future arms deals by Parliament.

Stung by the political fallout from the arms deal scandal, the Defence Department now refuses to disclose any detailed information about armaments acquisition to Parliament.

There is a complete lack of transparency on current Defence Department armaments acquisition programmes.

The fact is that we know less about arms deals now than we did a decade ago.

The Defence Department’s White Paper on National Defence for the Republic of South Africa (1996) requires the department to:

“… publish an annual Acquisition Master Plan to indicate all new acquisition projects required for political approval from the minister and to inform the Joint Standing Committee on Defence“; and

“… publish a medium-to-long-term Defence Requirements Statement to guide long-term technology and industrial planning”.

Moreover, the Defence Department’s Defence Material Division’s Policy, Process and Procedures for the Acquisition of Armaments in the Department of Defence (“DAP 1000”) is very clear about parliamentary oversight stating:

“The relevant parliamentary committee(s) on defence will have an oversight function to provide guidance to the DOD with respect to the relevant facets of its acquisition programmes. The oversight function will include guidance to the DOD with respect to timing of tenders, counter trade obligations, and acquisition prioritization. The DOD will submit bi-annual and ad hoc reports to the relevant Committee on Defence on all acquisition activities. The DOD will keep the relevant Committee on Defence abreast of developments in all its cardinal acquisition programmes, and will inform the relevant Committee on Defence at all relevant stages of such acquisition.”

However, for at least the past four years, the Defence Department has failed to produce any of these reports.