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‘Arms deal policies tweaked’

Captain Jacobus Jordaan said the process was complex and required approval at various stages.

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

PRETORIA - Captain Jacobus Jordaan on Thursday told the arms deal inquiry international defence markets only opened to South Africa after the apartheid era.

He is the sixth witness from the defence force to give evidence at the Seriti Commission of Inquiry which is investigating the 1999 multibillion rand acquisition.

Jordaan said investigations had to take place and then recommendations had to be made before the deal was opened up to possible bidders.

He added it was an intensive and complex process that required approval at various stages.

The captain said policies were tweaked as this deal was different than any other country had undertaken due to South Africa's considerably different political landscape.

Jordaan is a project management and acquisitions expert.

He said he was not part of the initial negotiations in the arms deal, but did eventually oversee the submarines project in Germany.

He did so while they were being manufactured there.

Four submarines were bought in the deal.

Jordaan was in charge of training and logistics, and worked closely with the company that built the equipment and artillery.

Brigadier-General Pieter Burger from the South African Air Force told evidence leaders on Wednesday about helicopters acquired in the deal.

He also spoke about five accidents involving the aircraft acquired, but said these were caused by human error.

Burger told the inquiry the choppers were necessary.

"It is much needed. The agility and flexibility of a helicopter system goes without saying."