Follow our regular updates, straight from the chambers of the Seriti Commission.

24 March 2014:

Last Monday, the commission returned to Richard Young’s request for documents and time to allow for adequate cross-examination of Armscor programme manager Frits Nortje. Documentation remains an issue for Young, who has decided not to cross-examine Nortje at this point, but indicates that he would like the opportunity in the second phase of the hearings which will deal specifically with the allegations of irregularity and corruption.

Instead, Young has showed a clear preference for cross-examining Admiral Kamerman, the project officer for the combat suite, and it is hoped that he would be afforded the time to get all the documentation from the commission and Department of Defence in order to cross-examine the witness effectively. The commission thus heard evidence from Nortje about the acquisition of the corvettes. The commission was then adjourned until 24 April 2014 to allow evidence leaders time to consult with witnesses.

17 March 2014:

Last week was a rather slow week at the Seriti Commission, which continued to hear evidence from Armscor officials. Pieter Burger, an employee of Armscor involved in the evaluation of defence industrial participation (DIP) programmes, provided the commission with information about how DIPs are evaluated, and specifically how those related to the arms deal were evaluated by Armscor.

This forms part of a larger inquiry into the manner in which DIPs and NIPs pertaining to the arms deal have performed. Although largely technical, it does appear that apart from a few DIP programmes that have underperformed, the DIP related to the arms deal have fared rather well, with most companies hitting their targets as set out in the agreements.

This week will hopefully see the cross-examination of Frits Nortje by arms deal whistleblower Richard Young. Nortje, a programme manager with Armscor, could provide valuable information on the rationale behind the corvettes’ acquisition and the current utilisation thereof.