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Arms Deal: Defence dept rocked by budget cuts

Another witness has taken the stand in the arms deal commission in Johannesburg.

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

PRETORIA - Major General Gerald Malinga says budget cuts have plagued the Defence Department since 1990.

He is on the stand at the arms deal commission that is scrutinising the now controversial arms deal.

The deal is estimated to have cost the country some R70 billion.

Malinga says two big budget cuts rocked the Defence Department making it difficult to buy new equipment and hardware.

But he says the sanctions over South Africa during the apartheid era also played some role and there was pressure to try and manufacture locally.

Malinga says France and Israel were some of the only countries keen to do business and training with South Africa at the time.

On Thursday, SA Navy Rear Admiral Derek Christian said the navy would be crippled without the equipment acquired through the controversial arms procurement deal.

He said the money which was used to secure the deal was not a waste, insisting that having such defence capabilities gave South Africa credibility.

Meanwhile, some have cast doubt over the inquiry saying it has a "second agenda."

The inquiry was set up by President Jacob Zuma in 2011 to investigate alleged corruption in the deal, but it has been rocked by resignation including that of Judge Francis Legodi.