Occurring during South Africa’s transition period from apartheid to democracy, the Arms Deal exemplifies the continuities between old and new elements within shadowy criminal ‘deep state’ networks. It continues to haunt present South African politics, directly implicating Jacob Zuma, who recently resigned as President of the country and continues to fight to avoid facing charged related to the deal. In addition, the Arms Deal also had a catastrophic effect on the post-apartheid economic project adding to rising inequality and entrenched poverty.
The Arms Deal was not a single event, but rather a series of scandals that have contributed towards undermining accountability and transparency within the security establishment and the state. It thus remains vital to understand the Arms Deal as South Africans continue to grapple with its legacy of corruption and secrecy within public and private institutions.
This submission by Corruption Watch, drawing on primary evidence and submissions by other parties, seeks to address the following questions:
- What was the Arms Deal?
- What wrongdoing was covered up?
- Who were the actors involved and how did they benefit?
- What was the Seriti Commission and where did it fail?
- What is the legacy of the Arms Deal?
In addition, the Tribunal heard from “Witness X”, Attorney Ajay Sooklal,who provided evidence of French Arms Company Thales’ involvement in the 1999 Arms Deal.
Please note: while the joint submission by Paul Holden and Andrew Feinstein is technically an external submission, as explained in Corruption Watch’s main submission, it is integral to understanding their case and is therefore included below as the first annexure (AD1) to the main submission.