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Cape Town - Anti-arms deal campaigner Terry Crawford-Browne wants the Seriti Commission of Inquiry into the multibillion-rand deal to subpoena the ANC to produce what he describes as its internal inquiry and the receipt book of donations from procurement deal beneficiaries.
An initial request was turned down at the end of February, according to Crawford-Browne’s advocate, Paul Hoffman, but further correspondence was on its way to arms deal commission chairman Judge Willie Seriti.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said it was not possible to comment on “an imaginary probe”, but anyone was free to approach the commission of inquiry.
“We are not part of it. If anybody wants to (make requests), the commission will have to decide on that. We can’t answer on a question that is imaginary,” he said.
“Some people have a passion of hating the ANC. They will go to any length. They will have to tell us where are these donors.”
It is understood the commission’s response to the initial request was that there is no evidence implicating the ANC before it and, if there were to be, the commission would deal with it as it deemed appropriate.
Last year, the commission turned down a written request by Crawford-Browne, as required by commission regulations, to make public his submissions.
The request to subpoena the ANC is the latest move by the veteran anti-arms deal campaigner, who took President Jacob Zuma to the Constitutional Court to institute an independent truth commission-style inquiry.
Crawford-Browne said he was pursuing the matter because South Africa bought weapons it did not need and could not afford, and was used to the backlash. “I’ve been at this for years,” he said.
When Zuma announced the two-year arms deal commission in September 2011, it was widely welcomed – particularly as until April 2009, he had faced corruption charges which arose from the conviction of his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, for, among other things, soliciting a bribe for Zuma from a French contractor to the arms deal.
Meanwhile, this week it emerged that the DA returns to the Pretoria High Court on April 30 for an order of contempt of court, and to compel the NPA and the presidency to hand over documents and transcripts of the so-called spy tapes relevant to the 2009 decision to withdraw corruption charges against Zuma shortly before the elections.
In March 2012, the Supreme Court of Appeal found the DA was entitled to bring a legal review of the dropping of charges and ordered the handing over of the record of that decision, minus any confidential representation made by the president.
The so-called spy tapes are central. Pointing to “abuse” in the process of charging Zuma, then acting prosecutions boss Mokotedi Mpshe on April 6, 2009, made public parts of classified recordings – the spy tapes – of conversations between former NPA head Bulelani Ngcuka and then Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy, obtained by the National Intelligence Agency through wire-taps.
“We have an order of court. That order of court is very clear...” said DA federal council chairman and MP James Selfe. “They are just whitewashing and stonewalling... I suspect it’s a deliberate strategy to make it difficult for us.”
It is understood the NPA is awaiting a ruling by the same court on its October 2012 submission that its acting boss, advocate Nomgcobo Jiba, was not responsible for failing to comply with the Supreme Court of Appeal ruling.
Full transcripts were sent to Zuma’s lawyer, Michael Hulley, in late April to allow for objections on the basis of confidentiality, it emerged then, as the president’s lawyers also filed an application for clarity on what was meant by reduced record.
The ANC has consistently rejected claims of misconduct in the multibillion-rand arms deal.