ISSUED BY BANTU HOLOMISA, MP
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.
Bantu Holomisa, MP
22 November 2001