SANDF chief testifies at arms inquiry

General Solly Shoke said equipment obtained through the controversial deal was definitely needed.

The Arms Deal Commission of Inquiry is being held at the Sammy Marks Conference Centre in Pretoria. Picture: Belinda Moses/EWN

PRETORIA - There is extra security at the Arms Procurement Commission of Inquiry on Friday as South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Chief Solly Shoke takes the stand.

He volunteered to testify at the hearing set up by President Jacob Zuma to look into allegations of corruption and fraud linked to the multibillion rand 'arms deal'.

The commission is also looking into claims that tenders were secured in an irregular manner.

The general told the hearing the SANDF needs to acquire even more equipment and artillery.

He said proper manpower and training made the force work well.

Despite the irregularities, Shoke said the equipment and hardware obtained through the controversial deal was definitely needed for both the air force and navy.

He said losing such capabilities would put lives at risk.

"Yes, the equipment that was bought was necessary and it is still necessary for us, as soldiers, to be able to execute our tasks."

Shoke insisted everything that was acquired was being used optimally.

He used a short video to show the type of work done and how the equipment is used to save lives on rescue missions.

The general says if allegations of corruption are found to be true, those in the wrong must be dealt with harshly.

The inquiry is being chaired by Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) Judge Willie Seriti.