Cape Town — African National Congress (ANC) suggestions
that he had broken the law and threats to have him removed
from the defence committee have failed to bully
Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier into revealing
his sources in the continuing "dodgy arms deals" saga
Two weeks ago, Maynier earned the wrath of the ANC
by going public with information about the sale of arms
to countries with dubious human rights records -- Iran,
Libya, Syria, Zimbabwe and North Korea -- and
some pending sales that could be approved soon.
His contention that there was a crisis in
the National Conventional Arms Control
Committee (NCACC), and that some of the deals
had been illegally approved by officials, prompted
the committee chairman, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe ,
to deny the claims of illegality in a press conference
and Parliament's defence committee to discuss
the matter at a special meeting yesterday.
In that meeting, despite a battering from ANC MPs,
Maynier refused to divulge his sources and insisted
that it should be Radebe and the NCACC
"in the dock" and not himself.
Most ANC MPs said that Maynier had broken
protocol in going public before placing
the information before the defence committee.
One ANC MP, Stella Ndabeni, after repeatedly
asking Maynier to divulge his sources insisted
that the information had to have been
illegally obtained and that it was also
illegal for Maynier to make such information public.
She called for the defence committee to
ask speaker Max Sisulu to have Maynier
removed from the defence committee.
ANC MPs also complained that the news of
the arms sales -- glide bombs and grenade launchers
to Libya, grenade launchers to Syria, and
grenade launchers and assault rifles to Venezuela,
as well as pending sales of aviator G-suits to Iran,
sniper rifles to Syria, and
ammunition to Zimbabwe -- put SA in a bad light.
Freedom Front MP Pieter Groenewald told
the defence committee nothing could be done
until the committee had a legal opinion and
until the NCACC had appeared before it
to explain itself.
Committee chairman Mnyamezeli Booi said
both would happen, and he would approach
Sisulu for political and legal guidance as
the Maynier disclosures were unprecedented.
Clearly the ANC wants to punish Maynier
but is unsure how to go about it.
A statement from the office of ANC chief whip
Mathole Motshekga insisted that Maynier had
broken the law by disclosing the business of the NCACC.
"On Monday, caucus called on Parliament to investigate
the legality of Maynier's action.
Notwithstanding the authenticity or lack thereof of
the report's contents, we believe that by making
public information detailing various arms deals
between our country and other states cannot be
in the best interest of the country's national security."
The statement and Booi said that in the past,
South Africans had fallen prey
to "information pedlars" and this could not
be allowed to happen again .
Maynier insisted Radebe had virtually confirmed
his claims in his press conference and interviews.
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