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The latest round of revelations of corruption in the arms deal shatters what little is left of South Africa's international image. Investors must be asking themselves what is the point of making long-term investments in a country where politicians, officials, and certain business people can unscrupulously commit acts of corruption without fear of prosecution. Only an uncompromising and harsh response from government will salvage SA's international image.

It is embarrassing that Germany is now investigating the business practices of German companies in South Africa. They obviously take the fight against corruption seriously. Their decision is based purely on media reports, unlike our government whose first response to media or opposition reports of corruption is to shout vehement denials. It is especially embarrassing because the German investigation implies a lack of confidence in SA's ability to effectively complete the investigation into the arms deal. Members of Parliament and high-ranking officials in government departments, the Defence Force, Armscor, Denel and others have now been linked to VIP cars acquired through EADS. The simple question remains why would people who are all entitled to company cars and/or discounts, would want to bargain for discounts. Why with an arms manufacturing company, and not directly with a vehicle manufacturer? Two issues, that the UDM will address, lie at the heart of this scandal:

1. Of particular concern to the UDM is that the revelations about Mr Msomi, Member of Parliament for the IFP and former Chair of Parliament's Public Enterprises Committee, has once again brought Parliament into disrepute. As much as government must do everything in its power to restore SA's image, Parliament is obliged to perform oversight of this. Where Parliament is itself brought into disrepute, it must do everything possible to restore its reputation and root out corruption from among its own ranks. It is time for Parliament to assert its powers; the UDM will request that Mr Msomi must explain himself before Parliament's Ethics Committee.

2. The fight against corruption is a matter of national importance. Parliament will have to involve itself again in the investigation into the arms deal to ensure that powerful people in various spheres of society do not derail the probe. In this regard the UDM will request the Standing Committee on Public Accounts to launch an urgent corporate governance probe into affairs at Armscor and other state utilities who could have been involved. It would be gross negligence on the part of Parliament not to investigate where board members and senior officials of public utilities are linked to corruption.

Bantu Holomisa, MP
UDM President

Cape Town
4 July 2001

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