President Cyril Ramaphosa told the NCOP yesterday the contents of the shipment carried on the Lady R vessel were kept secret so as to not compromise the work or the safety of SA’s security forces.

‘I have no intention of compromising this, under no circumstances,’ said Ramaphosa.

According to a TimesLIVE report, the DA’s Frederik Badenhorst had asked the President if he deliberately misled the nation concerning the ‘highly irregular handling of ammunition as controlled items’ and whether he was misled by the ‘irrational and false findings by the panel’.

Ramaphosa said he had full confidence in the contents of the report, adding: ‘By the way, as they commenced their work they asked for anyone with information to come forward and present (it).’

He said the panel had received information from a number of people.

‘I have no reason whatsoever to believe the findings of the panel were irrational. In fact I believe the findings were completely rational.’

The panel made no findings of involvement by clandestine parties or illegal transactions and no evidence has been presented to contradict the panel’s findings.

‘The contents of the shipment are kept secret so as to not compromise the work or the safety of our security forces. I have no intention of compromising this, under no circumstances.’

Ramaphosa said section 28 of the National Conventional Arms Control Act makes it clear that information on the quantity of items is shared with Parliament on a confidential basis and nothing in the Act requires disclosure on the intended use of the controlled items.

‘In fact, the Act expressly states that information concerning the technical specification of the controlled items may be omitted from a report contemplated in this section to protect military and commercial secrets.’ 

According to TimesLIVE, he said the work of the National Conventional Arms Control Committee is critical in ensuring that SA abides by its international obligations in relation to the transfer and trade in controlled items and it ‘will continue to do this critical work as provided for in its founding legislation and the relevant UN conventions’.

He said the government would continue to respect the requirements of the law and its responsibility to ensure the security of the nation.

Full TimesLIVE report