Parties shoot down arms deal amnesty

Opposition parties have shot down a suggestion to give amnesty to individuals or organisations that received kickbacks in the controversial multi-billion arms deal.

Opposition parties have shot down a suggestion to give amnesty to individuals or organisations that received kickbacks in the controversial multi-billion arms deal.

Yesterday the DA's representative on Public Accounts, Eddie Trent, said "such an amnesty for a few ANC elite would be tantamount to condoning theft from the public and would set an appalling precedent allowing unscrupulous politicians to proclaim amnesty for themselves in the future before leaving office".

The ID's leader Patricia de Lille said such a move would undermine the independence of the judiciary.

"The law must take its course," she added.

Azapo president Mosibudi Mangena said South Africa could not afford to come up with a "TRC-kind of solution whenever faced with problems of such a nature.

"The institution of the criminal justice system in the country has not come out to say they cannot deal with this matter effectively."

Mangena also said such a move would develop a culture of impunity among politicians and public officials.

PAC spokesman Mudini Maivha said South Africa should refrain from "politicising what is clearly a criminal matter".

Maivha said: "Politicians had a revolutionary morality to be accountable to the people who put them in office. This means if they act criminally, they must be charged accordingly."

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said the issue of a general amnesty had not been considered within the labour movement.

"At this moment what we are calling for is a full judicial commission into the whole arms deal," said Vavi.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said a call for amnesty should be "rejected outright."

Holomisa said individuals who wanted amnesty should go the plea bargaining route. He said they should allow the law to take its course and then bargain for amnesty in exchange for full disclosure and co-operation with the prosecution.

IFP spokesman Musa Zondi said his party believed the arms deal should be dealt with according to the laws of the country.

"If the law has been broken, let it take its cause," Zondi added.

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