Mbeki to testify before arms deal commission

Former president Thabo Mbeki and his former cabinet will appear before Judge Willie Seriti in June.

FILE: Thabo Mbeki to appear before Arms Deal Inquiry in June. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The Arms Procurement Commission has confirmed former president Thabo Mbeki and other senior decision makers in the multi-billion rand arms deal will now appear before Judge Willie Seriti's inquiry in the first week of June.

Mbeki is expected to testify on 5 June and will be preceded by other senior politicians who served in his cabinet at the time, including Trevor Manuel, Mosiuoa Lekota and Ronnie Kasrils.

State officials, who played a central role in the deal, including chief negotiator Jayendra Naidoo will also testify.

Arms deal commission spokesperson William Baloyi says the appearance of senior politicians will mark the end of the commission's first phase.

"We have allocated the whole 1 June for the politicians that will be preceded by all the important officials."

He says Mbeki and his former cabinet ministers will account for who took the final decisions on the deal.

"When the politicians take the stand they will be able to answer some of the allegations or issues that have been raised by the officials."

Baloyi also confirmed Mbeki could make use of state lawyers free of charge, but would have to foot the bill if he prefers to use his own legal team.