Patricia de Lille has welcomed the court ruling overturning the findings of the Seriti Commission which probed the arms deal. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Town - GOOD party leader Patricia de Lille has welcomed Wednesday's court ruling overturning the findings of the Seriti commission of inquiry which probed the controversial arms deal.

In a statement De Lille, who blew the whistle in Parliament on corruption involving South Africa's multi-billion rand arms acquisition in 1999, said the ruling by the high court in Pretoria gives the country a new chance to prove it would act against those guilty of any malfeasance linked to the deal.

"Today’s [Wednesday's] High Court judgement overturning the Seriti Commission’s whitewashing of arms deal corruption is important because it demonstrates that although the wheels of justice have been turning almost imperceptibly slowly, they are not entirely broken. The rule of law prevails," she said.

"The court’s judgment presents a new opportunity to demonstrate that in South Africa all citizens, irrespective of power or connectivity, are governed by the same laws and Constitution, and held to equal standards and account."

De Lille said had their been action against those who were implicated in corruption in the arms deal, it would have prevented the looting of state coffers in later years.

"Among our biggest mistakes has been our failure to bring crooks in the State system to book. It begun with the arms deal. Had we drawn a legal line in the sand and slammed the door on corruption 20 years ago we would have prevented much of the looting of the State that followed."

Judge President Dustan Mlambo had ruled that the manner in which the commission approached witnesses at the commission represented as a “complete failure”.

The commission was established in 2011 by former president Jacob Zuma to investigate allegations of fraud, corruption, impropriety or irregularity in the Strategic Defence Procurement Package.

Mlambo said the commission appeared to treat statements from those accused of corruption as facts whereas it treated statements from critics of the arms deal as mere allegations.

African News Agency (ANA)