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UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

 

ARMS REPORT MUST HAVE CONSEQUENCES

STATEMENT ISSUED BY BANTU HOLOMISA, MP
UDM PRESIDENT

The Arms Report tabled yesterday in Parliament has found that there are serious problems on the sub-contracting level of the Arms Deal. But these findings must have consequences. The arrest of Shabir Shaik is a welcome, if very small, step in the right direction. The crucial question is whether he and his brother will identify the members of Cabinet who colluded with them. This will bring to an end the ridiculous suggestion that officials are solely responsible where their political superiors in the very least were negligent for not preventing corruption. In the meanwhile, the sub-contracts that have been found wanting must be suspended or cancelled immediately.

The UDM is extremely dismayed by the assertion of the investigators that the prime contracts are flawless. For example, the public is being asked to believe that it was the prerogative of Cabinet to choose a costlier Hawk fighter option, despite expert recommendations from qualified government and  defence officials to the contrary. The UDM rejects this argument; Cabinet was not qualified to act as a tender board. The result of their behaviour was to significantly increase the cost of the deal.

The UDM has difficulty accepting the claims by the investigators that there was no interference in the drafting of the report. The UDM calls upon the Auditor General to publicly and unambiguously confirm that Cabinet did not remove a single fact, finding or recommendation from the report, for example on the grounds that it would contravene national security. If the Auditor General and his colleagues want South Africans to take this report seriously, nothing else will suffice. In the meanwhile, we can only look at the report and come to the conclusion that it has failed to produce anything of significance, and therefore it is an instrument to protect government and not a tool in the fight against corruption.

Enquiries:
Bantu Holomisa, MP
UDM President

Pretoria
16 November 2001

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