Get IOL's cool new iPad app...
By Moffet Mofokeng
The government is reviewing the regulations of the 1998 Foreign Military Assistance Act after the arrest of South Africans over their alleged involvement in conflict in Africa, Safety and Security minister Charles Nqakula said on Wednesday.
"When this was passed, some of the incidents that are happening in the world had not happened then," he told reporters at parliament.
"It has therefore become incumbent on us to revisit that act to ensure that we plug all the gaps."
A total of 77 South Africans have been arrested in connection with a plot to topple the government of Equatorial Guinea.
A total of 69 were arrested in Zimbabwe and eight others were arrested in Equatorial Guinea on March 7 and 8 on charges of plotting to overthrow the country's government.
Deputy Justice Minister Johnny de Lange said Mark Thatcher was arrested at his Cape Town home on Wednesday on charges of funding and providing logistical support to the aborted coup attempt.
De Lange further said a "limited number of individuals were being investigated" for allegedly violating the Foreign Military Assistance Act.
Nqakula said the need to review the act came in the wake of concerns about South Africans protecting installations in Iraq, and the arrests in Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea.
"Those South Africans in Iraq are working for private security companies.
"In terms of the law, how do you define that, because some of their functions are to guard installations?"
The minister said in so far as South Africa was concerned, "that does not sit squarely with the definition of military assistance.
"Other instances are when South Africans join up the military formations of other countries and go to war but under the flag of those countries whereas they are South Africans," Nqakula said.
He said some of these things needed to be reconsidered "to ensure that in the end we have an act which will enable us to stop some of these things... particularly as they relate to mercenaries.
"Africa, for quite some time now, has been bedevilled by people... who are engaged by some people to effect coups in their countries," Nqakula said. - Sapa