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Arms Deal: Post apartheid policies 'delicate'

The commission heard how delicate arms acquisition policies were in post-apartheid South Africa.

The SAS Isandlwana, one of the navy frigates acquired in the arms deal. PICTURE: Dean Wingrin

JOHANNESBURG - The Seriti Commission has heard how delicate arms acquisition policies were in post-apartheid South Africa and who the different role players were in making the multibillion Rand deals a reality.

Captain Jacobus Jordaan has been giving evidence.

He worked closely with defence force officials and Armscor delegates in the lead up to the negotiations.

Jordaan says the controversial arms deal was sensitive and the first of its kind for the country which meant there were several considerations to make.

"The model use for structuring the armament acquisition process takes into account two fundamental parameters of armament. Firstly, the armaments life cycle and secondly its level of complexity."

Jordaan on Thursday told the Arms Deal Inquiry that 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.

Jordaan added 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."