25 Aug 2011
THE ANC Youth League has upped the tempo in its face-off with the ANC, calling for the reopening of the government's controversial R30 billion arms deal.
"We want to get clarity on the arms deal, because time and again we get signals elsewhere outside the country that there are unanswered questions," said ANCYL Limpopo chairperson Frans Moswane yesterday.
The call followed confirmation by the ANC that it had laid charges against the ANCYL's general-secretary Sindiso Magaqa, deputy president Ronald Lamola, treasurer Pule Mabe and deputy secretary Kenetswe Mosegoni.
The ANCYL leaders, including its president Juluis Malema and spokesperson Floyd Shivambu, are charged with bringing the ANC into disrepute. This follows a statement by the league accusing Botswana President Ian Khama of being a "puppet of the West".
The arms deal has haunted the ANC, with allegations that its key members and the party received bribes from arms manufacturers.
In 2005, then president Thabo Mbeki fired his deputy, Jacob Zuma, after the latter's financial adviser Schabir Shaik was found guilty of trying to solicit a bribe from Thint, the local subsidiary of French arms company Thales, on behalf of Zuma. The NPA subsequently withdrew charges of corruption against Zuma.
In 2003, then ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni was convicted after he received a large discount on a luxury car from one of the firms bidding for the contract. Yengeni was chairman of Parliament's defence committee at the time of the arms deal.
Earlier this year, it was reported that Fana Hlongwane - the middleman who received more than R200million in bonuses in the arms deal - bought a R4million home for General Siphiwe Nyanda, Zuma's new parliamentary counsellor, on his retirement as defence force chief five years ago.
Nyanda was defence force chief during the arms deals.
Political analyst Elvis Masoga said the ANCYL was "taking a swipe at Zuma". He, however, said the move was hypocritical.
"When they were prepared to kill for Zuma they said close the investigation, but now because they are probably prepared to politically kill Zuma they say the probe must be reopened."
Executive director of research at Unisa Professor Tinyiko Maluleka said: "In touching on that issue it will not be surprising should they (the ANCYL) get national sympathy."
Moswane denied that they were targeting anyone within the ANC.
ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza said: "The arms deal has nothing to do with the ANC as a party. It is in the hands of government."