South Africa: National Conventional Arms Control Committee - Handmaiden to Human Rights Abuse?


South Africa's arms trade regulator has failed in its mandate to monitor the export of weapons to countries that, among other things, abuse human rights, or wage war against their own citizens. This begs the question, quis custodiet ipsos custodes - who will guard the guards themselves?

Apartheid South Africa was steeped in secretive arms deals with clandestine transactions propping up the regime. The National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) was created at the cusp of democracy ostensibly as "guardians" who regulate the flow of weaponry across South Africa's border. No longer would money and brutal geopolitics dictate who we sell weapons to.

This was a significant undertaking for the democratic order - the world's 10th largest arms exporter (in 1994), had a history of supplying weapons to countries such as Iraq and Iran during the bloody war of the 1980s, as well as to Rwanda.

But as we saw in Unaccountable 0004, arms companies like Rheinmetall Denel Munition have until very recently profited from arms sales that appear to be linked to murder and mayhem in Yemen.

This is the account of a failed regulator which, despite some signs of progress, has over the past two decades acted as...

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