Africa Cancelled Arms Contracts With Israel in 2000
Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg)
July 26, 2002
South Africa terminated existing arms contracts with Israel in
2000, says Minister of Education Kader Asmal.
The disclosure came in response to questions from the Mail &
Guardian about the possible ongoing role of South African companies
in maintaining weapons systems used by Israel in air attacks on
the Palestinian occupied territories.
There has been general condemnation of Israel this week following
an incident in which an Israeli F-16 warplane dropped a one-tonne
laser-guided bomb into a crowded neighbourhood of Gaza City, killing
16 Palestinians, including a top militant, and wounding 160.
South Africa and Israel have in the past collaborated extensively
on the development of missile and guidance technology, prompting
this week's questions to Asmal.
The minister, who is the chairperson of the National Conventional
Arms Control Committee (NCACC), did not explain why the government
had waited two years before making public its tough stance on exports
In 1999 South Africa exported about R8-million worth of combat
system support equipment to Israel.
Last year ANC Western Cape leader Max Ozinsky told a public meeting
that South Africa was still servicing existing contracts with Israel
and it is understood that at least one Cabinet member was under
the same impression.
Asmal's disclosure coincided with a Cabinet decision on Wednesday
to approve the release of official arms export figures for 2000
and last year. The NCACC is expected to release the figures this