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UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

 

MBEKI AND HIS MINISTERS MUST COME TO PARLIAMENT TO ACCOUNT FOR THEIR ACTIONS

STATEMENT ISSUED BY BANTU HOLOMISA, MP
UDM PRESIDENT

The UDM is disturbed by the manner in which President Mbeki and other Cabinet members have conducted a media campaign to celebrate their innocence and lash out at critics with regards to the Arms Deal Report. It is simply unacceptable that they repeatedly rebut criticism not with rational argument, but with the race card. It is time for Mbeki and his cronies to realise that "struggle credentials" and skin colour do not automatically make them immune to mismanagement and corruption.

The UDM has written to the Chairperson of Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (SCOPA) to request that he invites the President and Ministers to come and speak directly to the Members of Parliament who initiated this investigation, instead of abusing the media to sing their own praises and dodge the issues.

This will create the opportunity for them to answer the huge questions that remain about the role of Cabinet in the Arms Deal. For instance, the decision of Cabinet to choose the Hawk Trainer Aircraft, at twice the cost of the equipment recommended by its own experts. It is not satisfactory for the Report to simply find that it was the "prerogative" of Cabinet to overrule expert advice; we need a proper explanation. Another question that the Mbeki and his Ministers must answer relates to the amendments, deletions or "improvements" that they insisted should be made to the Arms Report before it was released to Parliament.

Lastly, the UDM would like the Ministers to come and explain to the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament how it is possible for them to feel that they should not be held accountable for the actions of senior officials who worked directly with them, and who are, according to the Report, guilty of serious transgressions and corrupt practices.

Enquiries:
Bantu Holomisa, MP
UDM President

Cape Town
22 November 2001

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