Caucus to recommend action against DA's Maynier

10 August 2009

The ANC Parliamentary Caucus will this week request that Parliament apply its mind on the Democratic Alliance's report on the state of the country's arms deals and take the necessary action.

On 2 August, David Maynier presented a report to the media alleging that the South African government, through the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC), was involved in "dodgy" arms deals with six countries and was responsible for "arming dictators all over the world". The six countries referred to in the report are Syria, Iran, Zimbabwe, North Korea, Libya and Venezuela.

The report, which contains illegally obtained information, with sprinkles of falsehoods to sweeten the story, has since been responded to by the NCACC Chairman Minister Jeff Radebe following its wide coverage in the media. The Office of the ANC Chief Whip last week also expressed "deep concern" over the public statements made by Maynier.

Caucus will ask Parliament to investigate whether the DA has contravened the National Conventional Arms Control Act 41 of 2002 by disclosing details of the South African government's arms deals with other countries, thereby putting the country's national security at risk.

According to Section 23(3) of the Act, "no person may disclose any classified document or the content thereof concerning the business of the Committee (NCACC) except with the permission of a competent authority or as required in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000".

We believe that by unlawfully disclosing to the media classified information pertaining to the business of the NCACC, which include current applications for arms by foreign states, Maynier may be liable for criminal offence. According to the Act, such an offence is punishable by fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 20 years or both.

Parliament has a responsibility to conduct an investigation into this matter and take appropriate action where necessary, lest we become a lawless state where even MPs, our country's lawmakers, can willy-nilly play political football with sensitive information without due regard to the security of the country.

Issued by
Office of the ANC Chief Whip
Parliament of the Republic of SA

Moloto Mothapo: 082 370 6930