Publication: The Star Issued: Date: 2001-01-09 Reporter: Editor:

Clamour to Include Heath "Irritates" State

Publication  The Star
Date 2001-01-09
Raporter Marvin Meintjies
Web Link

The government is getting increasingly "irritated" by insinuations that any investigation into the R43-billion arms deal that excludes Judge Willem Heath's special investigating unit will be viewed as suspect. 

Penuell Maduna, the minister of justice, is laying the foundation for a thorough investigation of the deal and is getting increasingly "upset" by the clamour around whether Heath's special investigating unit would be involved. 

On Tuesday the Inkatha Freedom Party called for Heath's unit to be appointed as part of the team probing the government's controversial arms procurement deal.

'We are getting irritated by scatological statements'

Also, CCII Systems, a Cape Town defence company, has said it will not sue the government over a contract linked to the arms deal that they allegedly lost due to corruption, if Heath's unit is appointed.

They had planned to demand between R100-million and R200-million. 

Paul Setsetse, Maduna's spokesperson, told The Star: "We are getting irritated by scatological statements emanating almost daily, despite our efforts to explain to these people where the matter stands. 

"They continue to issue misleading statements knowing that no decision has been made, and that is really upsetting.

"We appreciate people can express their views, but the matter is still under consideration. Yet statements are issued that nothing is being done, people are even threatening legal action. We are getting irritated. We have done a lot to inform the public of what is going on."

Velaphi Ndlovu, IFP member of parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Defence, said onTuesday that he was urging Maduna to recommend to Thabo Mbeki, the South African president, that Heath be appointed. 

"A number of serious allegations have been made and it is vital that we ensure that the matter is investigated as fully as it possibly can be," Ndlovu said.

"Judge Heath's unit can play an important role in this process." 

With acknowledgement to Marvin Meintjies and the Star.