Procurement: We Do Not Discriminate


August 5, 2009: For the last three years, South Africa has been exporting weapons to just about anyone who could pay, including North Korea. South Africa has long had the largest arms industry in sub-Saharan Africa. The industry was built up during the half century Apartheid government, when South Africa was a pariah state because it denied the vote to black citizens. The Apartheid government made the most of its outlaw status by selling weapons to anyone with cash. But when full democracy arrived in the 1990s, the government sought to clean up its weapons export policies. In 1995, the NCACC (National Conventional Arms Control Committee) was established. Until about four years ago, the NCACC worked well, preventing sales to outlaws or governments seen as not fit for polite company. Then political infighting within the government saw several key NCACC members depart, and the controls began to fail. That sort of problem is now supposed to have been remedied, but there is still the related problem of bribes being paid to officials by foreign weapons suppliers. And it's suspected that, while the NCACC was, well, broken, arms export permits were obtained via the payment of bribes.



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