[LISTEN] Understanding the decision to set aside the Seriti commission findings

On Wednesday, the High Court in Pretoria found the Seriti commission failed to comprehensively investigate the arms deal as it had been mandated to do.

The commission, chaired by Judge Willie Seriti, ran for four years and cost taxpayers more than R130m.

Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, standing in for Eusebius McKaiser, spoke to author and Corruption Watch senior investing officer Paul Holden as well as director of Open Secrets and author Hennie van Vuuren to unpack the case and the implications of this review.

The key issues were one were there procurement irregularities in this deal where mistakes made. Was the process manipulated? The second was to investigate allegations of corruption and the last thing which is a slightly technical but important thing was that the commission was supposed to look into whether the offsets ever materialised.

Paul Holden, Senior investing officer - Corruption Watch

Unfortunately the commission investigated none of those, which is a huge tragedy because it was the first time there was ever an independent possibility of the arms deal being investigated fully. For the commission to have conducted itself like this is a great tragedy.

Paul Holden, Senior investing officer - Corruption Watch

Van Vuuren says the high court judgment is a victory for civil society.

Over 40 civil society organisations said that this is effectively a whitewash, a cover-up and that witnesses should withdraw.

Hennie van Vuuren, Director - Open Secrets

I think the outcome at some point was something that was predetermined and I think that is again the importance of Justice [Dunstan] Mlambo's judgment last week is to send a message that this kind of conduct can never be repeated in South Africa.

Hennie van Vuuren, Director - Open Secrets

Click on the link below to hear the full conversation...


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