Publication: SA Defence Target Issued: Date: 2000-11-14 Reporter: Editor:

Letter in Response that SA Defence Target Declined to Publish




Dear Richard,
After careful consideration, the editorial committee of the SA Defence Target decided not to include you letter addressed to the editor in the October issue of the newsletter.  This decision was taken due to the official investigation launched by government into the package deals. We feel that this matter is to sensitive at this stage to publish even in our newsletter.  We will publish articles on progress made with the investigation received from government but will not even quote other publications with regards to the package deals at this stage.
I am truely sorry that we could not publish your letter.
Kind regards
Leona Redelinghuys
Member of the Editorial Committee
SA Defence Target


The following letter could not be published due to the "sensitivity of the matter" :


Dear Editor

Thank you for publishing our letter in the January 2000 edition of S.A. Defence Target which corrects incorrect news published in your November 1999 edition.

Our letter was intended to be just that, a letter that sets out the correct facts, which you yourselves acknowledge by means of a footnote to our letter. That is all.

It is nevertheless interesting to see Mr Moynot's response in your February edition. His reference to "sinister manoeuvres", as well as accusations of  "damageable insinuations",  are not only factually irrelevant to the statements set out in our letter, but inflammatory and litigatious.

But seeing that Mr Moynot takes the liberty of using your publication as a platform for veiled threats of legal action against us in a court of law, as well as other completely irrelevant statements concerning the SA Navy's new submarines, we have no hesitation in providing you and the defence fraternity with the real facts of this matter; ones that we have brought to the attention of the highest levels of the Department of Defence and Auditor-General, as well as ones that we are quite able and willing to substantiate in a court of law.

The undisputable facts of the matter are that the Information Management System (IMS) was developed, at significant expense to the South African taxpayer, as well as to our own company, specifically for the SA Navy's light frigate or corvette programme. It was furthermore nominated as an element of the combat system within the corvette request for tender baseline and was selected by the SA Navy/Armscor Corvette Joint Project Team prior to Best and Final Offers.

However, Thomson-CSF and ADS, by virtue of their exclusive status as sole bidder for the Corvette Combat Suite, manipulated risk and cost factors to the detriment of the CI Systems IMS in favour of their own Thomson Group company's proprietary Fast Ethernet-based combat suite data bus, the Diacerto data bus. This seemingly left the DoD no choice other than to accept the foreign product - very unwilling I am told.

But herein lies the rub, was the IMS deselected by the State, or was it, for all practical purposes, deselected by Thomson/ADS? Maybe this will have to be the question put before the court of law, along with a question as to their exclusivity as bidder for the Corvette Combat Suite.

Moreover, an internal DoD technical investigation reported the following findings :

" The IMS is completing Milestone 3 and is in an advanced stage of development/testing.
 The IMS provides a better strategic advantage to the SA Navy.
 Both Thomson and GFC recognize that the IMS is a superior product.
 The cost of the IMS is high - but only due to the 100% risk apportionment (of Thomson/ADS)."

Mr Moynot's remark that the matter may "lead to disputes with an end result potentially damageable to the country" is especially interesting. Prior to cabinet approval of the defence packages, senior management of both Armscor and of the SA Navy requested that CI Systems refrain from legal action which might jeopardize the corvette programme. We acceded to this request on the understanding that a solution, mutually acceptable to all stakeholders, was found. That the latter has not happened is obvious, despite extraordinary efforts by ourselves.

Furthermore, Mr Moynot's threat to our substantiating various matters in a court of law is welcome, because neither they nor the DoD have responded satisfactorily to numerous legal correspondences requesting that we be provided with the actual facts of the matter regarding nomination, selection and deselection.

Mr Moynot can be assured that we shall endeavour to find out the various truths behind this unfortunate matter, whatever it takes.

Richard Young
Managing Director