Ruling on helicopter freeze is due

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Johannesburg - The Pretoria High Court is expected to rule on an application by AfriForum to freeze the delivery of South African helicopters to the Zimbabwean military on Friday.

On January 25, the same court granted the Afrikaner lobby group an urgent interim court order to prevent delivery of helicopters to the Zimbabwean army until the completion of the main application.

AfriForum's legal team presented letters on the matter to Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, who is also chairperson of the National Conventional Arms Control Committee.

The letters were written after rumours surfaced that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) had decided to donate its entire fleet of used Alouette III Air Force helicopters to Zimbabwe, AfriForum said at the time.

“We have informed the acting French Ambassador to South Africa in writing of the potential risk for his country,” AfriForum's legal representative Willie Spies said in January.

“In that France may be contravening the arms embargo against Zimbabwe, as imposed by the European Union, as the South African government will now be donating imported French helicopter parts to Zimbabwe,” he continued.

He said according to the National Conventional Arms Control Act of 2002, the National Conventional Arms Control Committee must consider certain principles before the sale or delivery of military equipment to another country can be authorised.

Spies said indications were that the Zimbabwean army was enhancing its visibility and mobility in anticipation of national elections scheduled to take place later this year. - Sapa


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