All great trees start with a seed, and so good things are born, the same is true for the not so good. Terry Crawford-Browne has been championing an unbiased Arms deal probe since the deal ballooned to R70 billion, in four rather than two years. And while the Seriti Commission’s report wiped the slate clean of any wrong doing on anyone involved, it was a report commission by a man implicated in the storm, President Jacob Zuma. And so Crawford-Browne has filed an application to the Constitutional Court asking it to set aside the report, so that the public can get the truth. He says the Arms deal was where the country’s culture of corruption got unleashed (to hear the in-depth interview and see documentary proof click here) and the only way to stop it is to implicate those involved. A recent IMF report also highlighted the dent corrupt activities are putting on South Africa’s reform. And as they say, let a dog get away with stealing a bone it’s more likely to try steal another. This same principle applies to a certain state broadcaster. – Stuart Lowman
The arms deal has unleashed a culture of corruption that now threatens the survival of South Africa’s constitutional democracy, according to court papers.
Arms deal critic Terry Crawford-Browne has filed an application at the Constitutional Court, asking it to set aside the Seriti Commission’s report.
In his affidavit, Crawford-Browne said: “The arms deal predictably unleashed a culture of corruption that now threatens the survival of South Africa’s constitutional democracy.”
“The further consequences have included massive increases in unemployment, the collapse of the rand on foreign exchange markets, widening the gap between rich and poor, daily service delivery riots throughout the country, and the prospect of South Africa’s investment downgrading to junk status – a prospect that will further aggravate the country’s poverty crises.”
Crawford-Browne said he had requested the court to set aside the commission’s report, and to “instruct the Minister of Finance to recover monies – now estimated at over R70bn – that were irrationally and fraudulently spent on the arms deal”.
“The huge volume of evidence against British Aerospace (BAE), the German Submarine Consortium (GSC) and German Frigate Consortium (GFC) that was the very cause of the Commission’s creation was left lying, un-investigated, in two shipping containers at the Hawks’ premises in Pretoria. Examination of another evidence was deliberately blocked by Judge Willie Seriti.”
He said the Arms Procurement Commission was allocated a budget of R40m, and was charged to complete its work within two years, however, it took more than four years, and spent R137m in public resources.
Commission found no evidence of wrongdoing
He also claimed that the stagnant economy since 2000 was a consequence of the negative economic impacts of the arms deal and has resulted in dramatic increases in unemployment.
Zuma said the commission also found that no evidence was presented before it to suggest that there was any undue influence in the selection of the preferred bidders.
The commission was appointed by Zuma in 2010 to investigate alleged corruption in the multi-billion-rand arms procurement deal.
The government acquired, among other hardware, 26 Gripen fighter aircraft and 24 Hawk lead-in fighter trainer aircraft for the air force, as well as frigates and submarines for the navy.
“The fact that the Gripen aircraft are in storage further substantiates my contention that they and other arms deal acquisitions were not bought for any rational defense needs but, instead, for the bribes that would flow from the offsets,” read the court papers.
“The fallacy and ‘red herring’ of re-equipping the SANDF [South African National Defence Force] to meet its constitutional obligations was invented to divert attention from those realities. Predictably, the offset ‘benefits’ of R110bn that were the actual rationale for the arms deal did not materialize nor did the jobs.”
By Jeanette Chabalala