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Cape Town - The defence department has sold off three more of its Atlas Cheetah fighter jets this year, according to Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
The aircraft, once the mainstay of South Africa's air defence system before the last one was retired in 2008, were sold to state-owned aircraft maintenance division Denel Aviation, she said in a written reply to a parliamentary question.
They were “disposed of” in this financial year (2013/14), between April 1 and June 30.
The minister's reply, which lists the sale of all “surplus military material” back to 2009/10, also confirms the sale of two Cheetah last year (2012/13), one with “associated spares”; one in 2011/12, also with spares; and, a total of 19 sold in 2010/11.
Of the above, all were sold to Denel Aviation; 20 were confirmed as having been sold on to Ecuador. They are currently operated by that country's airforce.
Other military equipment sold during the first quarter of the current financial year included 44 Samil vehicles. The off-road trucks are mainly used by the SA Army.
Last year (2012/13), the military also disposed of eight Ratel infantry fighting vehicles to the company Mobile Armoured Protection Systems (Pty) Ltd. A total of 155 Samils were also sold to various other companies.
Mapisa-Nqakula's reply also showed that in 2011/12, her department sold 10 “88mm Howitzer GVI Guns” to an African Union contractor, listed as Lefa Engineering and Security.
According to reports, this sale was not recorded in government's reports to the United Nations, as required by international law.
“These guns are not listed in the National Conventional Arms Control Committee annual reports on weapons exports,” the Cape Times newspaper reported on Monday.
The defence department was not available for comment on Monday morning.
In her written reply, Mapisa-Nqakula reported that her department had disposed of “excessive, obsolete, redundant and unserviceable materiel” over the period 2009 to end June this year.
“The alienation of defence materiel is facilitated by Armscor...,” she said. - Sapa