Publication: News24 Issued: Date: 2001-01-19 Reporter: Sapa Editor:

Ndungane, Mbeki in Arms Talks 

Publication  News24
Date 2001-01-19
Reporter Sapa
Web Link

Pretoria - The Anglican Church leadership has been invited to a private meeting with President Thabo Mbeki to discuss the controversial R43-million arms deal, Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane's office said on Friday.

The meeting will take place at the Union Buildings between noon and 2pm on Friday.

The Anglican delegation consists of Archbishop Ndungane, Canon Luke Pato (executive officer), Bishop Brian Germond (Johannesburg), Bishop Joe Seoka (Pretoria), Bishop David Nkwe (Klerksdorp) and Bishop David Russell (Grahamstown).

The delegation will return to Bishop Germond's home for a press conference at 3pm.

Mbeki was on Thursday still considering whether or not the Heath investigating unit should help probe the arms deal, the presidency said on Thursday.

Presidential spokesperson said Mbeki had received representations on the matter from all four investigation agencies which were nominated by Parliament's public accounts committee to probe the arms deal.

"The president is studying all the information," Mahatey said.

Mbeki on Tuesday asked the auditor general, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, the Public Protector, and the Heath special investigating unit for more information. They were given until Wednesday to do so.

Justice Minister Penuell Maduna on Monday advised Mbeki not to issue a proclamation enabling the Heath unit to take part in the inquiry into allegations of corruption in the arms procurement deal.

Among others, he cited a recent Constitutional Court ruling that Heath's position as head of the unit was unconstitutional.

Referring new cases to the unit would fly in the face of the court judgment, Maduna said, adding that other agencies were equipped to handle the probe without the Heath unit

The Heath unit contended that the ruling did not prohibit it from undertaking new investigations.

Maduna's recommendation provoked outrage from opposition parties, which warned that the exclusion of the Heath unit would damage the credibility of the probe.

With acknowledgement to Sapa and News24.