Arms deal inquiry postponed


The Seriti Commission of Inquiry adjourned on Thursday following a request by Lawyers for Human Rights, the commission said.

“The public hearings of the Arms Procurement Commission have been adjourned until Monday, November 25,” spokesman William Baloyi said in a statement.

Chairman Willie Seriti agreed to the request so that Lawyers for Human Rights could study documents for the cross-examination of Armscor manager Johan Odendaal.

Last Thursday, the commission said it would reduce its staff complement.

There were two main reasons for the move, Baloyi said in a statement at the time.

Firstly, the bulk of the work had involved sifting through vast amounts of documents received from various state departments. This had been completed, he said.

The committee's work had shifted to the public hearings, and only a few legal professionals were needed to help the evidence leaders.

Secondly, there was a need to save costs given the budgetary constraints, Baloyi said.

He said all the commission's employees were on contract and most of the contracts would expire at the end of this month or in December.

All affected staff had been given early notice that their contracts might not be extended, and that they would be paid in full up to the end of their contracts, even if they were released early.

Baloyi said the process had not been concluded, but about six employees would be affected.

The commission is investigating allegations of corruption in South Africa's multi-billion rand arms deal.