Country's credibility has been damaged by arms deal – COSATU

Union says even if there are no evidence of corruption, the decision to buy arms using so much of taxpayers' money is morally questionable

COSATU statement on the Seriti Commission report

22 April 2016

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted the release of the arms deal report by the Seriti Commission, which found no evidence of corruption in the R43 billion arms deal. While we have noted the summary of the report, we will take time to read the report in its entirety so as to inform ourselves of the complete findings and recommendations.

COSATU has been closely watching the ongoing, public debate around allegations of corruption in the R43 billion arms deal for years and we insist that even if there is no evidence of corruption, the decision to buy arms using so much of the taxpayer’s money remains a morally questionable decision by our government. Our country is struggling to provide jobs, education and affordable healthcare for its citizens and that amount of money would have gone a long way in addressing some of those socio-economic ill challenges.

While our security is important, it does not help to break the country’s treasury securing a nation of illiterate, unemployed and hungry people, who are riddled with diseases. We need to get our priorities right and spend our meager resources wisely for the benefit of the people.

We hope that this will represent the end of the regrettable chapter of the arms deal controversy and that lessons have been learnt by our government. They need to focus on the country’s priorities and also ensure that there is transparency in all government contracts, where the money of the tax payers is involved.

We are calling on those, who are unhappy with the outcome of the investigations to provide the necessary evidence to the courts of law because it is not helpful to continue with public allegations that individuals, institutions and organizations benefited irregularly from the arms deal, when there is not enough evidence provided. The country’s credibility and standing has been greatly damaged by these allegation and we need to find some closure sooner rather than later.

Issued by Sizwe Pamla, National Spokesperson, COSATU, 22 April 2016