Publication: Mail and Guardian Issued: Date: 2001-01-21 Reporter: Own Correspondent Editor:

Death Threats, State Raids in Free SA

Publication  Mail & Guardian
Date 2001-01-21
Reporter Own Correspondent
Web Link

AS public fears of a massive government cover-up of corruption in its R43bn arms deal grow, Patricia de Lille, the feisty parliamentarian who ripped the veil off corruption in the government’s shady multi-billion rand arms deal, has received death threats - and graft-busting judge Willem Heath fully expects apartheid-era style state raids on his office.

De Lille, an MP for the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), said she was more concerned about her family than herself, "but people must just know that taking me out will not stop this. Many other people have the same information," she said.

Heath, who was earlier castigated by a sulky President Thabo Mbeki for withholding information given to him by whistleblowers, said he refused to compromise the identities of his informants, and expected the government would attempt to obtain the information by raiding his offices.

De Lille was the first to warn of corruption in the deal six months ago, alleging in Parliament that a number of politicians from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) had received kickbacks from foreign arms dealers.

She gave Heath's Special Investigations Unit a series of documents relating to the affair.

Mbeki rejected immense public pressure to include Heath's organisation in the arms probe, saying he was excluding the unit on constitutional grounds.

PAC President Stanley Mogoba has confirmed that the PAC - possibly with support from other parties - would take legal action to challenge Mbeki's decision in the Cape High Court.

The PAC accused the president of ignoring recommendations for Heath's involvement from a key parliamentary committee and the state's legal experts. De Lille said the executive had violated the Constitution by ignoring the wishes and recommendations of Parliament.

She further accused the ANC of placing the interests of the party before those of the nation.

"Whether unfounded or not, the public perception exists that a cover-up is being shaped, that our democratic institutions are being undermined, that mischievous and misleading forces may be at work and that correct procedures could have been flouted," the South African Council of Churches (SACC) said in a statement.

With acknowledgement to Daily Mail & Guardian.