DA: Zuma's Saudi deal is history repeating itself

15 April 2016 - 11:37 By TMG Digital

The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Friday raised the spectre of the “1999 Arms Deal” after the president and defence minister “went under the radar and unveiled a military industrial complex in Saudi Arabia last month”. The party said on Friday that it pushed Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula “to make a ministerial statement…addressing allegations that South Africa has partnered with Saudi Arabia in the production of weapons and armaments in an offshore joint venture which saw the opening of a new military industrial complex”.Specific questions the party would ask include:- "Why was Treasury nor Parliament advised on a new arms merger between South Africa’s Denel and Saudi Military Industries Corporation?- “Which countries will use these arms besides Saudi Arabia‚ if exported‚ which countries will they be exported to?; and- “Why was the South African National Defence Force not notified nor consulted for recommendations?”“The secrecy with which President Jacob Zuma and Minister Mapisa-Nqakula visited Saudi Arabia is concerning and is starting to ring bells similar to that of the 1999 Arms Deal‚” said the party’s defence spokesperson‚ Kobus Marais.“Parliament cannot allow history to repeat itself and must satisfy itself that ordinary taxpayers money is not being being pilfered to fund dodgey arms deals in discord with South Africa’s non-violent human rights-based foreign policy.”He said the Saudi News Agency reported that “military industrial complex will produce mortars‚ artillery shells and aircraft-borne bombs‚ which would mainly be used by the Saudi defence forces”.“It is concerning that South Africa is financing projects to bolster the Saudi defences forces at taxpayers expense; it is difficult to ascertain how this is benefitting our economy‚ which is in dire straits at the moment‚” Marais said...

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