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arms-deal-text3_557aa68b827d9Many of the players in the arms deal are still in the public eye. A few have died – Sicgau, Modise, Moloi – and others have been fired, resigned or come to the end of their terms of office and gone on to forge new careers for themselves.

Only South Africans are included in this list. There are several other people from the overseas arms suppliers who have been named in allegations of bribery and corruption, but at the moment we have not featured them.

The reputations of a number of the people involved were forever publicly tarnished because of the arms deal or events that arose from it – former president Thabo Mbeki, for instance, will be remembered for his part in allowing the deal to proceed, as well as for not allowing investigations into it to proceed.

“The arms deal and its cover-up,” wrote Andrew Feinstein in the foreword to The Arms Deal in Your Pocket, “were the moment at which the ANC and the South African government lost their moral compass.”

In alphabetical order, these are the leading characters from the arms deal epic:

Selby Baqwa South Africa’s public protector from 1995-2002. He led the 2001 public hearings in the arms deal and his office constituted a third of the 2001 joint inquiry into the deal.
Terry Crawford-Browne  Retired bank manager, now an author and activist for exposing corruption in the arms deal. Spokesperson for Ecaar-SA (formerly Economists Allied for Arms Reduction, renamed to Economists for Peace and Security in 2011).
Patricia de Lille  Former MP for the Pan Africanist Congress and later the Independent Democrats, now executive mayor of Cape Town. She was the first politician to expose corruption in the arms deal, with her De Lille Dossier, a document that showed evidence of bribery within the procurement processes.
Geoff Doidge ANC deputy chief whip, who took over the leadership of Parliament’s public accounts committee after Andrew Feinstein was removed, and also took over Feinstein’s role as the party spokesperson for public accounts.
Shauket Fakie Auditor-general from 1999 to 2006. He was involved in the joint investigation into the arms deal, whose report was released in Parliament in November 2001.
Andrew Feinstein ANC MP, fired as head of the ANC group on the parliamentary public accounts committee. He was instrumental in getting Parliament to call for a probe into the arms deal, but lost his leadership position as a result.
Douglas Gibson  Chief whip of the Democratic Alliance. He was one of those who in 2003 called on the National Assembly to appoint an ad hoc committee, which drew on all parties active in Parliament and which included representatives of Scopa as well as the defence, trade and industry and other appropriate portfolio committees, to investigate the allegations surrounding the arms deal.
David Griesel  Armscor head of acquisition systems. He played an important role in facilitating and deciding on suppliers for the arms deal. Griesel was a state witness during the fraud and corruption trial of Schabir Shaik.
Judge Willem Heath Appointed by late president Nelson Mandela as head of the Heath Special Investigating Unit, which was tasked with investigating maladministration, corruption, fraud, theft and misappropriation of state assets and funds.
Fana Hlongwane Former advior to Joe Modise. He is one of those alleged to have benefited financially from the arms deal, specifically from the Gripen contract, and was named as a suspect by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office,.
Mosuioa Lekota Defence minister from June 1999 to September 2008, and part of a sub-committee for the acquisition programme, that also included Alec Erwin, Trevor Manuel and Jeff Radebe. Lekota signed contracts in 1999 but claimed that the decisions on what to buy had been made before he took office.
Penuell Maduna  Justice minister from June 1999 to 2004. In 2000 he approached advocates Frank Kahn and Jan Lubbe, seeking their opinion on whether or not an investigation into the arms deal was warranted. The two replied that it was.
Trevor Manuel Minster of finance from 1996 to 2009. In 1999 he signed the loan agreements that permitted the government to spend billions on military equipment.
Moeletsi Mbeki Younger brother of President Thabo Mbeki. According to newspaper reports he and his business partner, former IDC chairman Diliza Mji, both directors of Dynamic Global Defence Technologies, bought a 25% stake in Vickers OMC through Dynamic.
Thabo Mbeki President Nelson Mandela’s deputy, and South African president from June 1999 to September 2008. Much of the wheeling and dealing took place on his watch. He is also said to have interfered in a decree by Mosioua Lekota that gave the auditor-general carte blanche into investigating the arms deal – Mbeki is said to have revoked that decree – and ensured that the results of the joint investigation were sanitised, exonerating the government of any wrongdoing. In September 2008 he was dismissed from office by the ANC, a move tied to his own dismissal three years before, of Jacob Zuma, because of Zuma’s connection to Schabir Shaik.
Joe Modise Former defence minister, before Lekota – he held office from 1994 to 1999. In documents relating to the joint investigation probe, whistleblower Richard Young is said to have found a set of written notes that included, among other things, an instruction to substitute a finding by auditor-general Fakie that Modise had manipulated the selection of the BAe Hawk 100 fighter trainers, with one from the public protector that said the election was made for logical reasons.
Fazela Mohamed Parliament’s registrar of members’ interests. She recommended a probe by the parliamentary ethics committee into the acquisition by ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni of a luxury 4×4 Mercedes-Benz.
Lambert Moloi Former aide to, and brother-in-law of, Joe Modise. He was also a director of state-owned arms manufacturer Denel, as well as chairperson of Futuritic Business Solutions, which owned a stake in Schabir Shaik’s controversial African Defence Systems.
Jayendra Naidoo Not to be confused with former communications minister Jay Naidoo. He was the chief government negotiator for the acquisitions.
Bulelani Ngcuka Director of public proscutions from 1998 to 2004. Ngcuka was prepared to investigate Jacob Zuma on corruption charges, but was castigated for stating that there was a “prima facie” case against Zuma. He was accused of being the mysterious apartheid spy Agent RS452, but this was proven to be untrue.
Essop Pahad  Minister in the office of the Presidency from 1999 to 2008 – he left the government after the resignation of Thabo Mbeki. In After the Party, Andrew Feinstein wrote that he tried to pull the plug on a proposed inquiry into the arm deal in 2000.
Shamin “Chippy” Shaik Head of the arms acquisition programme in the Department of Defence. There was potential conflict of interest because of his brother Shabir’s directorship of African Defence Systems, one of the bidders. He moved to Australia in the latter half of the 2000s, but apparently has since returned.
Shabir Shaik Brother of “Chippy” Shaik and director of African Defence Systems, a sister company of French arms company Thales, previously Thomson-CSF. In 2005 Shaik was jailed for 15 years for soliciting a bribe from Thint, the local subsidiary of Thales. He did appeal the sentence but lost, and finally went to prison in 2007. He was released on medical grounds in 2009, suffering from hypertension, after serving two years and four months of his prison term.
Stella Sigcau Minister for Public Enterprises in Nelson Mandela’s government, and a member of the arms deal cabinet subcommittee chaired by Deputy President Thabo Mbeki and which included Alec Erwin, Trevor Manuel and Joe Modise.
Gavin Woods  IFP MP and chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Public Accounts. He resigned as Scopa head in 2002, saying in a scathing statement that there was too much interference from ANC officials for the committee to do its work properly.
Tony Yengeni African National Congress chief whip and the former chairman of Parliament’s Joint Committee on Defence. Yengeni’s Mercedes Benz four-wheel drive was bought by a senior DASA staff member and registered in Yengeni’s name three days later. He was convicted of fraud in 2003 and sentenced to four years in prison – he served just four months. Recently allegations have surfaced which claim that he received a bribe of 2.5-million DM, or R6-million then, from TRT, a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp.
Richard Young The whistleblower who helped to expose massive corruption in the arms deal. Young was a losing bidder for the corvette information management system. In 2003 he won a court application to force the auditor-general to release the documents he had gathered during his investigations. In 2007 Young complained to the University of KwaZulu-Natal about plagiarism in the PhD thesis of Chippy Shaik – Shaik was stripped of the degree as a result.
Jacob Zuma Former deputy president, now president. Through his then financial advisor Shabir Shaik, he was said to have solicited a R500 000 annual payment from Thomson-CSF. When Shaik was prosecuted in 2005 for fraud and corruption, charges were brought against Zuma too, alleging misuse of power and improper influence in the arms deal, but they were later dismissed and Zuma escaped his day in court. However, as a result of Shaik’s conviction Zuma was fired as deputy president by President Thabo Mbeki. He was again charged with corruption and racketeering in 2008.