'Come clean on arms deal'

Ido Lekota

Ido Lekota

Opposition parties have come out with guns blazing, calling on the ANC to sort out the mess around the government's controversial arms deal.

Yesterday Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille called on President Thabo Mbeki to come clean about the arms deal.

"President Mbeki should explain his role to the whole country and not just to the ANC, because it is our money that was squandered on arms," said De Lille.

Democratic Alliance leader Hellen Zille called on Mbeki to establish a judicial commission of inquiry into the deal.

"The DA repeats its call for President Mbeki to appoint an independent judicial commission of inquiry to thoroughly investigate the arms deal and to identify any irregularities or corruption committed by government officials," said Zille.

The calls come amid media reports that the ANC has called on Mbeki to explain his involvement in the multi-billion arms deal.

The call is said to have been made by business magnate and senior ANC member Tokyo Sexwale after reports in the Mail & Guardian alleging that Mbeki, certain government officials and the ANC have benefited from the arms deal kickbacks.

However, both the DA and ID are not impressed by Sexwale's call, labelling it part of the ongoing factional fights within the ruling party. Last year Sexwale dropped out of the ANC presidential race and joined the Zuma camp. His move was seen as part of the campaign to oust Mbeki.

"The ID is not fooled by these moments of transparency that pits the ANC's new guard against the old guard," said De Lille.

"It is obvious that the motivation of senior ANC NEC members such as Tokyo Sexwale to demand the truth about the president's involvement in wrongdoing associated with the arms, has nothing to do with a genuine desire to get to the truth, but it is rather a convenient way to settle long standing political grievances against Mbeki", Zille also said yesterday.