Shine light on crippling deal

It's time to come clean on the arms deal, Mr President. Do it now if you want to retain even a smidgen of credibility for yourself and our country.

It's time to come clean on the arms deal, Mr President. Do it now if you want to retain even a smidgen of credibility for yourself and our country.

No surprise that kickbacks, bribes and assorted distasteful "favours" accompanied the multibillion-rand boondoggle.

That's what usually happens when dealing with merchants of death.

The signs were there from the beginning. Military brass were silenced when the cheaper gear they asked for was ruled unsuitable. And questioning voices even within the ANC were consigned to political limbo.

Then reports started circulating about former Defence Minister Joe Modise, procurement head Chippy Shaik and ANC whip Tony Yengeni.

But Mbeki's ANC was determined to keep a lid on the deal and quashed every bid to shine a light on the shenanigans.

Now it's out of their hands. UK and German authorities are investigating the millions of rands in bribes, kickbacks and sweeteners so liberally dispensed by their nationals.

Will we wait for the French, the Swedes and the Italians to tar us as an utterly corrupt banana republic too?

If Mbeki and his party's hands are clean, let them prove it. No longer can the whispering continue without dragging us all into the mire.

Nothing less than an unrestrained independent judicial commission of inquiry can set us, and our president, free.

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