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SA minister okays spares for Zimbabwe's helicopters

10 May 2013 at 05:30hrs | Views
South Africa's Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, as chairman of the arms control committee, has in effect approved the donation of helicopter airframes and spare parts to Zimbabwe, finding that bey are not "controlled items" with a military application.

European Union sanctions are in place against Zimbabwe and the donation of airframes and spare parts for Alouette III helicopters by SA's defence force could be in breach of an embargo. Also, the National Conventional' Arms Control Committee Act stipulates that arms transfers should not take place to unstable countries or contribute to repression.

Earlier this year Democratic Alliance defence spokesman David Maynier wrote: to Mr Radebe asking' for the arms control committee to investigate the proposed donation.

This week Mr Radebe wrote to Mr Maynier, saying his committee only considers applications relating to "controlled items".

"The items to be donated are unserviceable, have no hard points or weapons mounted to it and the spare parts and components have no features and characteristics that would transfer it from a civil aircraft to a military aircraft," he wrote.

Mr Maynier said: "In the end...the end user for the helicopter airframes and spare parts is the Zimbabwe Defence Force."

" Mr Maynier said he would write to Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and ask her to review the decision.

He said the Armscor Act stated that defence material can only be disposed of in consultation with the original manufacturers.

Mr Maynier would write to French ambassador Elisabeth Barbier to determine if this consultation had taken place.

Source - BusinessDay