Publication: Cape Argus
Reporter: Thokozani Mtshali
Lekota has to Release Arms Deal Papers
Minister Mosiuoa Lekota will have to hand over documents about the arms deal to
Richard Young, one of the losing bidders in the massive deal.
Pretoria High Court refused Lekota leave to appeal against an earlier judgment
that he should make the documents available to Young.
Southwood yesterday dismissed Lekota's application for leave to appeal, mainly on the grounds *1 that it was filed late and that it
sought to raise issues that were not presented to court before the original
court order was granted.
Young been (sic) engaged in a legal fight with
the ministry and department of defence after his company, CCII Systems, lost its
bid for a contract to supply combat suites for the South African Navy's
But last year, using the provisions of the Promotion of Access
to Information Act, he asked the court to force the ministry of defence to
provide him with records regarding the sub-systems to be installed on the
In April last year Judge Southwood ordered the ministry of
defence to hand over the documents and records of the arms deal within two
Lekota had argued that it was permissible for the government to
refuse to give certain information if this related to security
But the court found that the ministry of defence had failed to prove that the confidentiality clauses were relevant in
this matter *2.
In his judgment, Judge Southwood said the court
dismissed the application also on the basis that the ministry of defence had misled Young to believe that it
would abide by the court order when it knew it wanted to
challenge it *3.
With acknowledgements to Thokozani Mtshali and Cape Argus.
*1 Actually the primary ground for
the refusal was that the right of leave to appeal had perempted, i.e. been
defeated, once the DoD had objectively (by their conduct) indicated that they
would not appeal because such appeal had no prospect of
*2 Or that the material sought actually
contained matter worthy of protection.
amounts to a flagrant abuse of a citizen's statutory rights.