Publication: Business Day Issued: Date: 2001-01-23 Reporter: INet Bridge Editor:

MPs Meet in Constantia About Arms Probe

Publication  Business Day
Date 2001-01-23
Reporter INet Bridge
Web Link

CAPE TOWN Members of Parliament's standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) met in Constantia at 2pm on Monday to discuss the probe into the country's controversial arms procurement deal.

The MPs were expected to discuss their position following the decision taken last week by President Thabo Mbeki to exclude the Heath Special Investigating Unit from the investigation.

The closed meeting marks the start of a four-day workshop at a conference centre in the Cape Town suburb.

There was no clarity on when Speaker of the National Assembly Frene Ginwala would address the committee on her position regarding the probe. Her office said this could possibly be on Wednesday.

The committee in a parliamentary resolution in November last year recommended a multi-agency investigation into the deal. This was unanimously approved by the National Assembly.

It recommended that the probe should be undertaken by the Heath unit, the Public Protector, the auditor-general the Investigating Directorate of Serious Economic Offences and "any other appropriate investigating office".

The probe was initiated following the release of a special report by the auditor-general recommending a forensic audit into the controversial R43bn defence package.

Scopa chairman Dr Gavin Woods said on Sunday that he could be mandated to talk to the media late on Monday afternoon, or the committee might decide to issue a statement on the government's criticism of it on the Heath affair.

He is also expected to propose that cabinet ministers who rejected the committee's report appear before it to explain themselves.

The committee would during the course of the workshop also discuss other matters, including outstanding reports and any other new issues that may have arisen.

With acknowledgement to INet Bridge and Business Day.