Arms deal inquiry not salvageable - Feinstein

Pretoria - The Seriti Commission of Inquiry into the 1999 multi-billion rand arms deal is no longer salvageable, arms deal critic and former ANC MP Andrew Feinstein said on Thursday.

"We believe in the rule of law and the primacy of the Constitution, but cannot co-operate with an institution that is so deeply compromised that its primary outcome will be to cover up the facts," he told reporters in Pretoria.

"We believe the commission is no longer salvageable."

Transparency and accountability

Feinstein, and fellow critics author Paul Holden and Hennie van Vuuren, announced on Thursday they were withdrawing from all participation in the commission.

The commission, chaired by Judge Willie Seriti, was appointed by President Jacob Zuma three years ago to investigate alleged corruption in the arms deal.

All three had been expected to testify in the commission.

Van Vuuren said the decision had not been taken lightly but he, Feinstein, and Holden believed the commission had missed its opportunity to support the struggle for transparency and accountability.

Holden, who is author of the book The Devil in the Detail about the arms deal, said there were four reasons for their decision.


The first was that Seriti had indicated he was not interested in hearing evidence from witnesses about documents they had written themselves.

Seriti made the ruling when Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier was testifying at the commission earlier this month.

Holden said Maynier was prevented from giving substantive evidence because he was not the author of the documents referred to. This limitation was not applied to previous witnesses.

"The implication of this ruling is that only those who have been involved in the arms deal can introduce evidence," he said.

"How the commission intends to discover the truth by only hearing from participants in the deal is a mystery."

The second reason for withdrawing was because the commission had failed to provide Holden, Feinstein, and Van Vuuren with access to relevant documents.

The third reason was that the commission had refused to admit key documents, they said.

Holden said the fourth reason was that information from parties who resigned from the commission, and the commission's own public conduct, suggested it did not intend to properly investigate the matter.

Second agenda

"There is evidence to suggest that the commission is following a second agenda, namely, to discredit critical witnesses and find in favour of the state and arms corporations' version of events," Holden said.

"The commission has not adequately responded to this serious allegation. Recent interaction with the commission reinforces our fears in this regard."

DerekMain 2014-08-28 02:32:00 PM
Don't worry, no need to explain your decision - it has been obvious from day 1 that this commission was not seeking the truth. It was also quite obvious that, in fact, it was set up to hide the truth. Time for TCB to head back to the ConCourt and press for an INDEPENDENT commission of inquiry. We must never allow the criminals who benefitted from this scandalous arms deal to relax until they have faced justice. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Phansi cANCer, phansi!!!
Akhenaten 2014-08-28 02:35:48 PM
And the parasite is using tax money to cover his own backside.
Freddie Miller 2014-08-28 02:36:45 PM
Did they really think Seriti was ever going to be impartial? He was appointed to protect Zooma from day one.
Johan Van Der Vyver 2014-08-28 02:40:39 PM
So much for democracy!
Jaun Meyer038 2014-08-28 02:53:36 PM
It is like an alternate universe where the thieving, sly and unjust win everytime and are supported and kept in power by a nation of morons. No truth. No honour. No justice. As a logical person, I don't understand it.
luckyluke 2014-08-28 02:55:40 PM
Another waste of our hard-earned money. Zoompipe should be accountable to pay back all the wasteful expenditure on all the enquiries, commissions and cover-up investigations he has initiated to cover his own, fat back-side. what a waste of oxygen this pr@ck is.
Ria Cook 2014-08-28 03:01:33 PM
Surely, right from the start, this commission was just a "vehicle" to transfer millions to Seriti & Co.
Ian R McNee 2014-08-28 03:03:54 PM
Jacob Zero. Set up the enquiry ergo it is corrupt.
NoAbsolutes 2014-08-28 03:07:44 PM
It was never salvageable. It's only purpose ever was to protect Zuma.
Rowan Torr 2014-08-28 03:31:38 PM
The truth cannot be will out in the end.expose expose expose those who cannot admit the facts of the matter.