4 September 2009
The ongoing threats of prosecution against whistle-blower David Maynier are a major cause for concern and a blight on our democracy. When the new administration was sworn in, we had such hopes that there would be less secrecy and covert support for unscrupulous dealings.
But the latest debacle within parliament suggests the opposite; we fear we are in for even more executive control.
Rubbishing those who expose the inappropriate decisions of what should be the ‘arms control’ committee but is increasingly becoming the’ arms deal facilitation’ committee is NOT the appropriate reaction.
More transparency of the Committee’s work could either lay to rest concerns regarding which countries we are selling arms to, or reveal details for further investigation. Sweeping this under the carpet will not solve anything.
Guni Gonvindjee of the Ceasefire Campaign’s Arms Reduction Working Group, says “We are disturbed by the goings-on in parliament. We believe the whistle-blower has done the correct thing by bringing into the opening the secretive tendencies of the NCACC. Any court of law would surely not see that that as a punishable offence.”
We are convinced now more than ever that the committee has much to hide. The in-camera parliamentary committee meeting, the presence of the senior ministers, the attacks and further threats of prosecution which the whistle-blower has had to endure, all bear evidence to that.
To reiterate, the NCACC is not only prohibited from selling arms to countries against which there is an arms embargo; it must also “avoid” arms transfers to “governments that systematically violate or suppress human rights and fundamental freedoms”.
Also, the NCACC is required to “assess each application on a case-by-case basis”. Instead it seems to have given blanket approval for the issuance of permits without even meeting to consider them.
Issued 3 September
Contact: Guni Govindjee 079 310 7437