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DA: Statement by David Maynier, Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister of Defense, calling for Sydney Mufamadi to account to Parliament (14/09/2009)

14th September 2009

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/ MEDIA STATEMENT / The content on this page is not written by Polity.org.za, but is supplied by third parties. This content does not constitute news reporting by Polity.org.za.


STATEMENT BY DAVID MAYNIER, MP SHADOW MINISTER OF DEFENCE 14 SEPTEMBER 2009 Former NCACC chairperson Sydney Mufamadi must account to Parliament Release: immediate The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the Mnyamezeli Booi, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans, requesting a further meeting with the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC). [A copy of this correspondence follows below.] The fact is that the last portfolio committee meeting was a travesty with Jeff Radebe, Chairperson of the NCACC, stonewalling and covering up details about suspect arms deals. I have therefore requested a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans with Jeff Radebe, Chairperson on the NCACC, Sydney Mufamadi, former Chairperson of the NCACC, officials from the Directorate of the Conventional Arms Control Committee and officials from the Office of the Auditor General to come and account to Parliament on the trade in conventional arms trade between 2004 and 2009. It is imperative that Sydney Mufamadi be present at the meeting since most of the dodgy arms deals took place while he was chairperson of the NCACC. I have also requested:
• that the scope of the meeting include the conventional arms trade between 2004 and the present;
• that the scope of the meeting specifically include the allegations set out in the document entitled "Arming Dictators all over the World: National Conventional Arms Control Committee in Crisis" (Democratic Alliance, 02 August 2009) and the response set out in the document entitled "NCACC Statement on South African Arms Sales Regulation" (Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, 06 August 2009);
• that members of the portfolio committee receive a comprehensive set of documents well in advance of the meeting including:
o copies of the minutes of all meetings of the NCACC in the period under review;
o copies of all minutes of the Scrutiny Committee of the NCACC in the period under review;
o copies of all reports of the inspectorate of the DCAC in the period under review;
o copies of all the annual reports of the NCACC in the period under review;
o copies of all management reports and annual reports of the Auditor General concerning the NCACC in the period under review.
• that the question format be changed to provide each member with as many 15 minute ‘question slots' as necessary to pose questions and follow-up questions to officials and ministers;
• that members of the portfolio committee be given the option of submitting questions to the minister in advance of the meeting so that there can be no legitimate grounds for claiming that questions cannot be answered because of a lack of preparation;
• that the meeting be scheduled over a two day period between 08h30 and 18h00; and
• that members of the public and the media be allowed to attend the meeting in line with the constitutional requirement that Parliament conduct its business in an open and transparent manner.
This is the only way for us to get to the bottom of the claims about the dodgy arms deals and begin to restore our reputation as a responsible member of the international community that does not trade in conventional arms with states engaged in repression, aggression and terrorism. MEDIA ENQUIRIES: David Maynier MP - 071 534 6398 Ross van der Linde - 076 543 7254

LETTER TO THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE DEFENCE COMMITTEE: 11 September 2009 The Honourable Mr Mnyamezeli Booi MP Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans Parliament of South Africa PO Box 15 Cape Town 8000 Dear Mr Booi REQUEST FOR A FURTHER MEETING WITH THE NATIONAL CONVENTIONAL ARMS CONTROL COMMITTEE TO SCRUTINISE AND OVERSEE CONVENTIONAL ARMS TRADE 1. Introduction I am writing to request a further meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans with Jeff Radebe, Chairperson of the NCACC, Sydney Mufamadi, former Chairperson of the NCACC, officials from Directorate of Conventional Arms Control (DCAC) and officials from the office of the Auditor General. 2. Background In the preamble to the legislation regulating the conventional arms trade in our country we state that we are "a responsible member of the international community and will not trade in conventional arms with states engaged in repression, aggression or terrorism". However, we now know that:
• conventional arms were sold to Libya, Syria and Venezuela;
• conventional arms may soon be sold to Syria and Zimbabwe;
• military support equipment was sold to Iran; and
• military support equipment was demonstrated in North Korea.
There is clearly something seriously wrong with our conventional arms control regime which in turn has damaged our reputation as a responsible member of the international community. This in my view warrants a further meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans to properly scrutinize and oversee what has been going on at the NCACC. 3. Stonewalled You will recall that Jeff, Radebe, Chairperson of the NCACC, appeared before the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans on Wednesday 02 September 2009 where he presented an introductory briefing as well as the 2008/2009 annual report of the NCACC. This was a step in the right direction since in the past annual reports have been classified and have not been released to the public in contravention of the legislation regulating the NCACC. However, portfolio committee members were in my view stonewalled at the meeting and could not properly scrutinize and oversee the NCACC. There are several reasons for this including:-
• the scope of the meeting was limited to an introductory briefing and the presentation of the 2008/2009 annual report by the NCACC;
• members of the portfolio committee did not have an opportunity to properly prepare for the meeting since the annual report was not provided in advance of the meeting;
• the question format was onerous and did not provide for members to cross-examine the minister or officials which allowed them to avoid or simply not answer questions;
• there was a time constraint of three hours for the meeting; and
• the minister and officials where evasive and on some occasions refused to answer questions, especially those relating to the so-called dodgy arms deals on the grounds that they were not prepared.
The result was a travesty and the portfolio committee failed to properly scrutinize and oversee the NCACC. 4. Meeting I am therefore requesting a further meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans with Jeff Radebe, Chairperson of the NCACC, Sydney Mufamadi, former Chairperson of the NCACC, officials from the DCAC and officials from the office of the Auditor-General. It is imperative that Sydney Mufamadi be present at the meeting since much of what is alleged to have taken place, especially in respect of the so-called dodgy arms deals, took place when he was chairperson the NCACC between 2004 and 2008. Moreover, I am requesting:
• that the scope of the meeting be expanded to include the conventional arms trade between 2004 and the present;
• that the scope of the meeting be expanded further to specifically include the allegations set out in the document entitled "Arming Dictators all over the World: National Conventional Arms Control Committee in Crisis" (Democratic Alliance, 02 August 2009) and the response set out in the document entitled "NCACC Statement on South African Arms Sales Regulation" (Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, 06 August 2009);
• that members of the portfolio committee receive a comprehensive set of documents well in advance of the meeting including:
o copies of the minutes of all meetings of the NCACC in the period under review;
o copies of all minutes of the Scrutiny Committee of the NCACC in the period under review;
o copies of all reports of the inspectorate of the DCAC in the period under review;
o copies of all the annual reports of the NCACC in the period under review;
o copies of all management reports and annual reports of the Auditor General concerning the NCACC in the period under review.
• that the question format be changed to provide each member with as many 15 minute "question slots" as necessary to pose questions and follow- up questions to officials and ministers;
• that members of the portfolio committee be given the option of submitting questions to the minister in advance of the meeting so that there can be no legitimate grounds for claiming that questions cannot be answered because of a lack of preparation;
• that the meeting be scheduled over a two day period between 08h30 and 18h00; and
• that members of the public and the media be allowed to attend the meeting in line with the constitutional requirement that parliament conduct its business in an open and transparent manner.
5. Conclusion This will in my view go a long way to proving for proper scrutiny and oversight of the NCACC. I would finally like you to know that the contents of this correspondence will be made available to the media. Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to call me directly on (021) 403 3337 or 071 5346398. I look forward to hearing from you. David Maynier MP
Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans

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