'Navy needed Arms Deal'

The fourth witness to testify at the commission said the SA navy would be crippled without the Arms Deal.

FILE: The arms deal commission underway on 23 August 2013. Picture: Belinda Moses/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Witnesses from the South African Air Force are expected to take the stand at the Arms Deal Commission from today.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the commission in 2011 to investigate alleged corruption in the 1999 multibillion Rand arms deal.

SA Navy Rear Admiral Derek Christian, the commission's fourth witness, said the navy would be crippled without the equipment acquired through the controversial arms procurement deal.

He testified on Tuesday that government makes the decision on how to allocate funds and the challenge lies with the defence force to make sure it uses the money as wisely as possible for the benefit of the country.

Rear Admiral Phillip Shoultz who gave testimony last week, said the equipment obtained during the arms deal helped protect the country.

He told the commission it was important for the navy to have this military might and its absence might mean vulnerability.

Admiral Rusty Higgs, who also took the stand last week, told the commission spending money on boosting the country's military might was an absolute must.

He said the approximately R70 billion used to secure the controversial deal was not a waste, insisting that having such defence capabilities gave South Africa credibility.

More questions are expected to be asked about how government allocated funds for the national defence.