Tough Arms Regulations Loom
Elmarie Jack, Sapa
Pretoria - The defence ministry is to publish tough new arms control regulations on Friday that will affect many businesses beyond those traditionally considered defence manufacturers.
A ministerial statement said the regulations, expected to be 200 pages long, would be issued under the National Conventional Arms Control Act adopted by parliament last year.
"All defence-related industries, their suppliers and other industries that manufacture items listed or described in the regulations should ensure that they comply with the regulations to avoid the penalties prescribed in the Act," said the statement.
The law regulated a number of activities related to arms manufacture and "dual-use" goods and technology export, and laid down penalties including imprisonment for up to 25 years for some offences - in addition to allowing for unspecified fines and the confiscation of property.
"The inclusion of dual-use goods and technologies in the regulations is of particular importance to industry in general in South Africa.
Dual-use goods refer to products, technologies, services and other goods, which besides their normal use and application for civilian purposes, can also be used for the furtherance of general military capability," the ministry explained.
It added that a list of such technologies would be included in the regulations, and would be similar to that attached to the Wassenaar Arrangement, a 1996 agreement between 33 states regarding common standards for export control.
The list was available on the internet at www.wassenaar.org the ministry added.
Technologies covered included advanced materials such as polymers, manufacturing machinery, many types of electronics, computers, information security hard and software, telecommunications technology, sensors and lasers and navigation instruments and avionics.
Once in effect, the manufacture, marketing and transfer of such goods would require permits issued by the National Conventional Arms Control Committee.
With acknowledgements to Elmarie Jack, Sapa and News 24.