ID still pushing for arms deal probe

Anna Majavu

Anna Majavu

Despite criticisms about her party's perceived obsession about the issue, Independent Democrats leader Patricia De Lille says she will keep on talking about the arms deal "because it is one of the many examples of corruption that have cost the poor billions of rands".

Apart from raising the issue in Parliament, De Lille has flown to Germany and the UK at her party's expense to meet with the agencies investigating whether German and British arms dealers paid bribes to various South African government officials.

She also supplied evidence from the "arms deal dossier" she put together with the help of various sources, to the National Prosecuting Authority, which helped convict Tony Yengeni.

"Corruption compromises service delivery. It betrays the millions of people that vote for you and put their trust in you."

The former PAC stalwart, who became the first woman since 1994 to launch a political party winning seats in the provincial and national government, says she is still serious about the land question.

De Lille also dismisses suggestions that the ID is a so-called coloured party.

"Since the majority of our people are black, which includes Indian and so-called Coloured people, and indeed the vast majority of our millions of poor people are black, the ID's pro-poor and transformation policies favour black people," she says.

De Lille says the DA's talk of an equal-opportunity society for all means nothing without transformation first.

"Any party that is serious about transformation must support affirmative action. The ID supports affirmative action in as far as it makes it easier for black people to gain access to jobs that were denied them in the past, but we believe it should not be used to simply enrich a few."

Since its birth six years ago, De Lille's party has become a force in the Western Cape where coalition governments are the order of the day, The ID is however not a big enough force to be anything other than a junior partner.

In the city of Cape Town, it was given the deputy mayor's post in exchange for giving the DA the support it needed to win control.

But after the ID deputy mayor Simon Grindrod defected to Cope last year, the job was given to ACDP member Grant Haskin.

"Coalitions are not determined by ideology but by the fact that you can only govern with 50percent plus one. It's a reality that the ID opposed the DA's budget for Cape Town until they agreed to allocate more money to the townships," she says.

De Lille says the ID wants to position South Africa as a world leader in renewable energy such as solar, wind and hydro power, an area barely touched on by all the other parties.