Date set for arms deal inquiry

The commission will finally investigate one of the country’s biggest scandals.

The commission will finally investigate one of the country’s biggest scandals. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - It has been confirmed the arms deal commission of inquiry will start on 5 August.

A list of names of the people set to testify is expected within the next two days.

At least 12 whistle-blowers were initially called to testify in March, but the hearings were postponed because the commission was not ready.

They were due to wrap up by November, but the commission says it's applied for an extension beyond the end of this year.

It is understood the commission will sit in Pretoria.

The commission was set up by President Jacob Zuma in 2011. He appointed Judge Willie Seriti to head the probe.

However, the commission has been hit by problems before it even got underway. In January, senior investigator Norman Moabi quit the commission.

Moabi wrote to Judge Seriti alleging that the commission was not transparent and had a "second agenda".

In May, commission secretary Mvuseni Ngubane was found dead in his car in KwaZulu-Natal.

Police said a suicide note was found next to his body.

Zuma has given the commission two years to complete its work and a further six months to hand in its report to him.

The arms deal was completed in 1999 and cost South Africa up to R38 billion at the time.

It involved companies from Sweden, Britain, France, Germany and Italy and it is estimated that up to R1.1 billion in bribes was paid.