'Arms deal commission must act fast'

There is disappointed the arms deal commission has decided to delay its oral hearings by five months.

Grippen Fighters were part of the arms deal. Picture: www.af.mil.za

JOHANNESBURG - Arms activist Terry Crawford-Browne on Tuesday said he was disappointed the arms deal commission had decided to delay its oral hearings by five months.

Yesterday, the commission said new evidence implicating certain people and entities meant it had to give those people time to respond before hearing oral evidence.

It also said its commissioners need more time to sift through the mountains of evidence they have received.

But Crawford-Browne said they should not delay any further.

"I think it's time for a hard and fast decision, a recommendation from the Seriti Commission to government, that the country was conned."

The hearings of the judicial commission were scheduled to start on Monday in Pretoria, but will now start in August.

Commissioner Judge Willie Seriti has previously rejected claims of cover-ups and a second agenda in the probe into the controversial 1999 arms deal.

The ANC government's almost R30 billion purchase of weaponry has been subject to repeated allegations of corruption.