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Arms deal: Mbeki to testify in May

The former president is expected to give evidence over five days.

Former president Thabo Mbeki. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Former president Thabo Mbeki is expected to testify at the arms deal inquiry in mid-May, the Seriti Commission of Inquiry revealed on Wednesday.

He will join several former Cabinet ministers who are also expected to give evidence.

The commission has been plagued by delays amid claims that there is another agenda to the hearing.

The former president is expected to give evidence over five days.

He was the head of Cabinet's sub-committee responsible for the deal when he was deputy president.

Planning Minister Trevor Manuel is also due to give evidence as he was finance minister at the time some of the deals were concluded.

Former defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota, now leader of the Congress of People, will also be called to answer questions.

It is still not clear if any date has been set for President Jacob Zuma to give evidence.

Zuma's former financial advisor Schabir Shaik was convicted of corruption in connection with contracts liked to the controversial deal.

While Mbeki's testimony will attract attention during the commission, former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils is also likely to have something to say.

Kasrils has become a fierce critic of government and the ANC.

He could use the opportunity to make several political points.

Former trade and industry minister Alec Erwin is also due to testify, along with current Absa CEO and former finance ministry director general Maria Ramos.

Ramos, who is married to Manuel, will also have to answer questions about how the deal was financed.