Lady R report: ANC prioritising secrecy over public welfare

Issued by Kobus Marais MP – DA Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans
20 Jul 2023 in News
  • The independent inquiry into Lady R is of public interest and cannot be kept under wraps.
  • The DA will not stand for an investigation that lacks transparency.
  • The ANC government must prioritise public interest over secrecy. 

Note to editors: Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbite by Kobus Marais MP.

The finalisation of the Independent Inquiry into the docking of the Russian vessel Lady R in Simon’s Town is a matter of significant public interest, and therefore cannot be kept secret.  The lack of transparency surrounding this investigation has unveiled the ANC government’s failure to prioritize the welfare of the country.

As a result of the panel’s terms of reference not being gazetted, and not being provided to us on our request, the DA has decided not to participate in what it considers a sham investigation. Transparency is crucial in addressing any wrongdoing, and the lack thereof in this process goes against the principles of accountability and fairness. The DA cannot endorse or be part of an investigation that lacks transparency and seems to seek to conceal important information from the public.

A PAIA request was submitted to the Department of Defence on 11 May, more than 60 days ago to gain access to among others, the cargo manifest of the Lady-R. On the 18th of July, I wrote to the Department of Defence (DoD) to inquire on the status of the PAIA application in terms of PAIA Act no 2 of 2002 s26(3(c) given their non-compliance to s26(1). In reply to our status request the DOD apologised for the delayed response and wishes to inform myself that the request has been referred to the Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) for his recommendation to the release or refusal of the requested records. The SANDF’s handling of the matter seems to be nothing more than a time-wasting tactic. Our reliable information is that munitions and/or armament were irregularly and most probably illegally imported and exported with the authorisation and/or consent and/or knowledge of government and the ANC.

Therefore, we emphasize that it is in the public’s interest, and indeed their right, to have access to the findings of this inquiry. Transparency and accountability are vital pillars of the rule of law and any responsible government. The ANC government must prioritize the nation’s well-being and act with unwavering transparency, putting the interests of the people first. Only then can the dark cloud that hovers over South Africa be lifted, and trust in our institutions be restored.