Publication: Cape Argus Issued: Date: 2003-09-19 Reporter: Terry CrawfordBrowne

Arms Dealer Conned our Government



Cape Argus

Date 2003-09-19


Terry Crawford-Browne

Web Link


The Joint Investigation Team's report on the arms deals presented to parliament in November 2001 found irregularities and malpractices in every tender.

All the primary arms deal contracts dismally failed the criteria of fundamental contract law, and should be ruled null and void.

Chapter Four, in particular, covering the BAe Systems, details how bid criteria were twice alerted after South African Air Force chiefs and the defence minister had rejected the BAe Hawk and Bae / Saab Gripen fighter aircraft. They felt the craft were unsuitable for South African requirements.

The air force was then overruled by cabinet ministers who applied "non-costed options" in violation of constitutional requirements that government procurements must be conducted in a manner that is "fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective".

Chapters Six and Seven covering the submarines and corvettes similarly confirm that tender procedures were not complied with.

The arms deals were government-to-government transactions in which the needs of South Africa's people were irrelevant.

Britain and Sweden would win the warplane contracts : Germany would win the warship contracts.

The tender procedures were a farce.

Cabinet ministers were warned in August 1999 that foreign exchange and other risks of the arms deal would limit the state's ability to meet commitments to socio-economic upliftment.

There would be no money for education, housing or welfare priorities because of escalating costs of the arms deal.

In addition, allegations and evidence of corruption were referred by Patricia de Lille to the Heath Special Investigative Unit in November 1999.

In January 2000, in spit of these warnings and allegations, finance minister Trevor Manuel signed the loan agreement that give effect to the arms deals.

He has - for 20 years - ceded control of South Africa's economic and financial policies to European banks, governments and the International Monetary Fund.

The projections of the government's own consultants suggest that the final cost of the arms deal by 2019 will amount not to R30 billion, but to about R370 billion.

Not knowing what the arms deal will actually cost, Manuel has recklessly put our necks into the noose of Third World debt. By 2019 we may face a social and political catastrophe similar to those now being experienced in Argentina and Zimbabwe.

That the ANC's national executive council now declares itself satisfied with the arms deal process (Cape Argus, September 16) confirms that our government still refuses to admit that it was conned by European arms dealers and their cronies.

With acknowledgements to Terry Crawford-Browne and the Cape Argus.