Trade union Solidarity has appealed to the government and to the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) to withdraw a demand that customer countries of the South African defence industry allow South African officials to visit and inspect their military installations. These inspections would be to ensure that they are adhering to the End-User Certificates, adherence to which is a precondition for being allowed to buy South African weapons.
An End-User Certificate prohibits a country, which has bought defence systems covered by such documentation, from transferring or selling those systems to other users. Recently, South Africa brought in the extra provision that required the in-situ inspections to ensure customer compliance with the Certificate.
Those countries which have bought South African weapons are refusing to accept the demand, on the grounds that it violated their national sovereignty. Consequently, exports to these countries were now being held up.
“Several legal opinions indicate that the inspections clause of the End-User Certificate is illegal and obstructive in nature and is in fact not contained in the NCACA [National Conventional Arms Control Act] itself, but only in the wording of the certificate,” highlighted Solidarity Professional Industry deputy general secretary Johan Botha. “The certificate is only an annexure to the NCACA and cannot be more restrictive that the Act itself.”
If the issue was not addressed, he warned, it would have serious implications for companies and their employees. “Job security at Rheinmetall Denel Munition is already in jeopardy and about 600 employees could now lose their jobs.”
“The government’s uncompromising stance on this issue will inevitably lead to client countries withdrawing their business from South Africa,” he stressed. “The economic uncertainty currently prevailing in the country and the continued rise in unemployment will only worsen if the government does not heed the industry’s plea.”