MADUNA'S DECISION TO EXCLUDE SPECIAL INVESTIGATION UNIT IS UNACCEPTABLE statement by UDM Spokesperson for Finance (15 January 2001)

Minister Maduna's decision not to recommend the inclusion of the Heath Special Investigation Unit is unacceptable.

Government recently fielded four senior Ministers to quell any discussion of wrongdoing in the strategic arms deal, who all assured us that nothing is wrong. If this is the case why not accept the Special Unit's participation,a decision that all parties including the ANC, made unanimously in the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament.

There is no hiding from the fact that serious questions regarding the strategic arms deal have been raised. The Public Accounts Committee,comprising of people with long and noteworthy years of experience in financial and fiscal matters, made a recommendation based on serious and careful deliberation after looking at various documents and discussions with public servants serving in the relevant departments. We did not lightly arrive at our recommendation for a broad investigation involving, amongst others, the Special Investigation Unit.

This recommendation by Maduna appears to be nothing other than a cover-up, and it intervenes in the open and democratic process of Parliament. Parliament is constitutionally appointed to be a watchdog over the Executive. For the Executive to ignore Parliament (with the ridiculous argument that it has a majority mandate to govern, whilst simultaneously ignoring the two thirds of parliamentarians who are from the ANC) is unconstitutional and will appear to the whole world as a signal that democracy in SA is merely an elaborate hoax.

We strongly urge President Mbeki not to heed Maduna's recommendation, but rather to honour the wishes of Parliament, representing all parties.