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Jonathan Ball

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

The Devil in the Detail “Brings Skeletons out of Arms Deal Closet”

The Devil in the DetailAccording to Donwald Pressly, in an article for Business Report, The Devil in the Detail by Paul Holden and Hennie van Vuuren cleans some skeletons out of South Africa’s Arms Deal closet.

In the following articles, Pressly and Sibusiso Nkomo report from events at the Cape Town Press Club and the Institute for Security Studies respectively.

Former president Thabo Mbeki was given the opportunity to revise the draft report of the triple inquiry into South Africa’s R70 billion arms deal, while his brother, Moeletsi Mbeki, derived benefits from a deal involving a subcontract to provide gearboxes for the SA Navy’s corvette programme.

This emerges in The Devil in the Detail, Paul Holden and Hennie van Vuuren’s recently published book on the deal, which was signed off by the government in the late 1990s. The book tells of how the arms deal emerged “out of the criminal networks of both the old SA Defence Force and the ANC’s security apparatus, raising questions as to whether South Africa’s remarkable transition was not oiled, at key points, by criminal intent and collusion”.

Today’s body politic is in a sorry state because of arms deal corruption, says activist Zackie Achmat.

He was moderating a discussion Thursday night at the Institute for Security Studies, where a book on the arms deal, The Devil in the Detail: How the Arms Deal Changed Everything, was launched. It was written by Paul Holden and Hennie van Vuuren.

At the discussion, Holden and Van Vuuren said the arms deal was not a single event. Instead, it was – and still is – a series of scandals and outrages, all contributing towards a dubious momentum that took South Africa further away from democratic practice.

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