Reporter: Richard Young
Response to :
Sues to get Information"
I write in response to the letter from Bertus Celliers, Armscor's
Corporate Communication Manager, published in the Rapport of 2002-03-10. Mr Celliers
was responding to Andries Cornelissen’s article "Arms Firm Sues
to Get Information", published in the edition of 2002-03-03.
Mr Celliers has taken the opportunity of using your newspaper for making the
following assertion to the public: "Dr. Young’s statement creates the
impression with the public that Armscor is playing for time and that they are
not serious in complying with the regulations of the act.".
However, the facts of the matter are the following :
- Regarding Armscor, Mr Cornelisson's article
stated that: "According to Young, Armscor requested an extension of
90 days.". No stretch of logic can lead to the interpretation that
I created, nor intend to create, the impression with the public that Armscor
is playing for time and that they are not serious in complying
with the regulations of the act.
- When Mr Cornelisson telephoned me on the Friday before publication of his
article to request a status update of my various requests for access to
information, which was a conversation and not an interview that we conducted
in English, I told him that Armscor had advised us that they would be
requiring the full ninety days allowed by the Act in order to provide us
with a response. This corresponds precisely with Armscor's letter to us of
2002-02-14, to which I referred in my conversation with Mr Cornelisson in
order to preserve accuracy.
Thus, Mr Celliers's letter is a blatant attempt to
use the media to disseminate corporate misinformation on behalf of Armscor. As
such, I advise him as follows:
Armscor is owned by the State, which is in
turn owned by the citizens of the Republic of South Africa, including most
readers of Rapport.
He should review the corporate ethics of
Armscor regarding the use of the media to disseminate to his shareholders
and others such misinformation, especially that regarding other South
He should unreservedly and without delay
apologise to the public, his employer, Mr Cornelisson and to me for his
highly unprofessional conduct, as well as retract the inferences he has
You may publish this letter in English or
literally-translated Afrikaans or both and I shall also be sending a copy to