PAC CALLS ON OTHER PARTIES TO JOIN FORCES AND TAKE THE GOVERNMENT TO COURT OVER ARMS DEAL PROBE statement by UDM President (22 January 2001)

While the arms probe is of national importance, however, the issue of sovereignty and integrity of parliament is far more important, in particular, that the speaker, Frene Ginwala, who is supposed to champion and protect that sovereignty, appears to be ambivalent, especially in the light of the Executive which has already threatened the independence of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) and the Auditor General.

In the light of the Executive’s demonstrated will to use its two thirds majority muscle, it is important that the broader issue of the independence of Parliament be focussed on as a compelling reason for the probe to go ahead as agreed by Parliament last year.

Members of Parliament from all sides are morally bound to protect and honour the decision of Parliament in the public interest. Of paramount importance is the need for Members of Parliament not to be intimidated and misled into succumbing to the confusion and chaos led by the President and his Deputy.

South Africans must remember that at the initiation of this deal, President Mbeki, then the Deputy President, was part of the responsible Cabinet Committee in charge of Government’s preparation for this arms deal. Therefore, the President is not justified in pretending or implying that there is a conspiracy somewhere to draw his name or Government into the arms acquisition process.

For this reason alone this committee (Cabinet) should be the first to be investigated in trying to review the whole acquisition process. So the more President Mbeki says less, the better.

ORGANOGRAM FIASCO
The organogram displayed by the President on SA TV on 19 January 2001, suggest that a network of social connections or relatives does exist and their exact involvement in the arms procurement process requires a thorough investigation. Displaying it on TV without questions answered by him is unacceptable. It is unfortunate that an impression is given that it is the Chippy Shaik’s relatives only that are involved when in reality many more are involved as the organogram indicate. President Mbeki’s brother Moeletsi Mbeki, Seth Phalatsi, Essop Pahad, Justin Surtee, Saudi Arabian Prince, Lambert Moloi etc. etc. appears in this organogram.

The arms deal probe must not be seen in isolation but in a broader sense, that is a whole network of corruption as a business within Government, for example, what is the relationship between the people in the organogram and the interested parties in the Cell C saga. Are we to believe that the appearance of some of the same names is a mere coincidence or are we to believe that these extensive networks of corrupt practices are not known to the President or his Deputy?

PAC’S CALL
In order for us to be of the same frame of mind and have a common departure point there is a need for the PAC leadership to convene a meeting of all opposition parties in Parliament as soon as possible with a view to share the information at the PAC’s disposal and getting an update and possible legal advice and collectively decide on the way forward.