Originally: SA Riot Goods for Haiti Probed
Cape Town – The Democratic Alliance has submitted parliamentary questions to the government in a bid to establish whether South Africa has supplied riot-control equipment to the Haitian government. The questions are directed at President Thabo Mbeki and chairperson of the national conventional arms control committee (NCACC), Education Minister Kader Asmal, said DA defence spokesperson Roy Jankielsohn on Monday. Jankielsohn said this followed media reports that “truncheons with the words ‘Made in South Africa’ written on them were being used to forcibly control anti-government protesters in Haiti”. Weapons companies selling their products internationally had to get permission from the NCACC, and the sale would be on record. Riot-control products would be covered by category D (non-lethal weapons) in terms of the regulations. ‘What factors were taken into account?’ “If the allegation proves to be true, the committee’s negligence in allowing it can only be described as shameful,” he said. The questions posed include whether the NCACC had ever approved the sale of any riot-control equipment to Haiti, and what factors were taken into account in reaching the decision to allow the sale. Jankielsohn said South Africa could ill afford “the growing, international perception that it is the champion of pariah states like Haiti and Zimbabwe, among others, providing the tools with which oppressors suppress their citizens”. “Not only will this have long-term economic consequences, but support for these states, whether overt or covert, raises serious moral questions,” he said.