This article below was written by Amanda Watson and published by the Citizen. [Note that the report incorrectly states that Judge Legodi resigned from the Commission citing a “second agenda” — that phrase was used in the resignation of attorney Norman Moabi. Judge Legodi did not provide public reasons for his resignation.]
The Right2Know (R2K) campaign wants the Seriti Commission of Inquiry into the 1999 arms deal to be scrapped.
The group picketed outside the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development in Pretoria on Monday.
A small group of 15 protesters brandished posters outside the Justice department, drawing a large crowd of curious onlookers.
“We are calling for the Seriti Commission of Inquiry into the 1999 arms deal to be scrapped,” said its spokesperson Bongani Xezwi.
“We believe it has turned into a whitewash commission. We no longer have faith in it, we have seen judges pulling out, we have seen witnesses pulling out because Judge Seriti won’t allow them to give evidence,” Xezwi charged.
The commission inquiry, under Supreme Court of Appeals Judge Willie Seriti, into allegations of fraud, corruption, impropriety or irregularity in the Strategic Defence Procurement Packages, called the Arms Deal, was set up late 2011 by President Jacob Zuma to investigate claims of corruption in the multi-billion rand arms acquisition.
Also appointed to sit on the commission were Judge Hendrick Mmolli Thekiso Musi, Judge President of the Free State High Court, and Judge Legodi, North Gauteng High Court, Pretoria.
Legodi resigned in 2013, controversially claiming in his resignation letter Seriti had a “second agenda”.
In a statement, R2K said the R70 billion arms deal should have been spent on housing, education, and health.
“The Arms Deal corrupted our politics, weakened state institutions, and undermined our democracy.
“And despite mounting evidence of corruption, there has never been a full and transparent investigation,” said R2K.
The organisation claimed “politicians, public servants, middlemen, and large multinational arms companies involved have never been made to explain themselves to the South African people”.