25 January 2013

South Africa: DA Calls On Jeff Radebe to Stop and Investigate Helicopter Parts Donation to Zimbabwe

press release

The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Jeff Radebe, should stop the donation of Alouette III helicopter airframes and spare parts to the Zimbabwe Defence Force and order an investigation by the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC).

The Mail & Guardian reports today that the defence department are about to donate an unknown number of Alouette III helicopter airframes and spare parts to the Zimbabwe Defence Force (ZDF).

The Alouette III helicopters have reportedly been stripped of all weapons systems and will be exported "under the radar" without NCACC authorisation.

We do not have all the facts, but this comes close to what amounts to a state-sponsored smuggling operation designed to assist the ZDF in circumventing arms embargoes put in place by the European Union and the United States.

The preamble to the legislation regulating the export of conventional arms says that we should "not trade in conventional arms with states engaged in repression, aggression or terrorism".

And yet the helicopters and spare parts are clearly destined for use by the ZDF, which is practically an extension of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF terror machine in Zimbabwe.

I will therefore write to NCACC chairperson Jeff Radebe requesting him to:

immediately stop the export of the Alouette III airframes and spare parts to the ZDF; and

order an investigation into this matter by the NCACC inspectorate, which is responsible for ensuring trade in conventional arms complies with the law.

David Maynier, Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans

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