State weapons deals 'a secret'

WHETHER the South African government has sold two million rounds of ammunition to Zimbabwe or not is still a closely guarded secret.

WHETHER the South African government has sold two million rounds of ammunition to Zimbabwe or not is still a closely guarded secret.

The Ministers of Justice, State Security and Police yesterday refused to answers questions in Parliament's defence committee about whether the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) had approved the deal or not.

They released a document showing that South Africa had done arms trade with Sudan (R64million), China (R82million), Saudi Arabia (R36million), and the United Arab Emirates (R185million), among others.

But Justice Minister Jeff Radebe would not say exactly what was traded, claiming it would "not be appropriate to go through each and every transaction we authorise".

The committee meeting was held after allegations by DA MP David Maynier that South Africa was involved in "dodgy" arms deals with Zimbabwe, Syria, Iran, Libya and others.

These countries have been accused of serious human rights abuses by international human rights watchdogs.

State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele said MPs should be careful not to give the impression that the NCACC must consult MPs about each arms transaction.

Radebe promised to answer detailed questions if a meeting were set up for that purpose.

Maynier accused the ministers of stonewalling him, saying they were "covering up the truth about the dodgy arms deals".

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