DA thwarts arms sale to Zim

david_manier_da_mpJOHANNESBURG - The South African official opposition, Democratic Alliance (DA), revealed at the weekend that its dodgy deal initiative had thwarted government efforts to export weapons to Zimbabwe. (Pictured: David Maynier, DA spokesperson on Defence and Military Vet

This follows the National Conventional Arms Control Committees (NCACC) latest annual report that was released at the end of last month. The NCACCs 2009 annual report reveals that two important arms deals, exposed last year during our partys dodgy arms deals expos were stopped, including the attempt to export thousands of 7.62mm sniper rifles to Syria and the attempt to export millions of rounds of 9mm and 7.62 mm rounds of ammunition to Zimbabwe. The NCACC deserves credit for stepping up and doing the right thing by refusing to authorise these arms deals, said David Maynier, DA spokesperson on Defence and Military Veterans.

He said the DA believed the NCACCs latest annual report raised questions about more possible dodgy arms deal in South Africa. NCACCs annual report, which covers the period 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2009, raises important questions, including whether the R2.3 million worth of conventional weapons including R1.7 million worth of Category D weapons which include riot control products such as tear gas that were exported to Madagascar, were used during the coup which took place on or about 16 March 2009, why more than half of the states we exported conventional weapons to were considered to be either Partly Free or, even worse, Not Free in terms of political rights and civil liberties, by Freedom House, when the committee are required to take into account human rights standards before authorising arms export permits, and whether a massive new arms deal has been signed which would explain the increase in total contract value approved from R19.5 billion in 2008 to R82.5 billion in 2009? If so, what is the name of the importing state and what type of conventional weapons are being sold? he asked.

Maynier told The Zimbabwean in a statement, that the DA would raise these questions with NCACC chairperson, Jeff Radebe, when he appears before the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans next month in Parliament. The DA, one of the Mugabe regimes fiercest critics over the years, had earlier taken the South African government to task with regards to selling arms to such countries as Zimbabwe and Syria fearing they will be used in violating the rights of citizens. Recently, the opposition party hit out at the government saying it was entrenching dictatorship by selling ammunition to such countries. The DA fears a recurrence of the violence that characterized the country last year as the countrys security forces were involved in the torture, murder and displacement of opposition supporters after Robert Mugabe lost the March 29 election.

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