The new arms export policy and operational framework, while offering stricter controls, have produced controversial results, causing critics to point to a gap between the theory professed by the NCACC and the practice arising from considerations of realpolitik and economics.129
As indicated earlier, South Africa has on several occasions refused to sell weaponry on human rights grounds. For example, South Africa imposed an arms embargo on Nigeria with effect from November 2, 1995, following embargoes put in place by the European Union and United States.130 Provoking protests from the Kenyan government, South Africa also refused to supply riot equipment to the Kenyan police.131 It also claimed to have resisted pressure from Sudan to provide maintenance for South African helicopters previously supplied to that country's abusive government by the apartheid regime.132 Following the October 1999 military coup in Pakistan, and the country's suspension from the Commonwealth, South Africa announced that it would suspend arms sales (although it later allowed delivery of arms sold under previously-negotiated contracts).133 Zimbabwe complained in mid-2000 that it had not been able to purchase tear-gas from South Africa earlier that year, and South African officials reportedly attributed the export denial to civil unrest in Zimbabwe at the time.134
Despite these positive examples, there have been other controversial decisions to allow the official export of South African arms to governments engaging in repression against their own people, or to countries involved in their own or others' civil wars. Thus, as the nongovernmental Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) reported in December 1999, five of the top ten destinations for South African arms exports between 1996 and 1998-India, Colombia, Pakistan, Congo-Brazzaville, and Algeria-were countries that had experienced some form of conflict during the same period.135 Sales to such areas of instability and armed conflict are obviously in tension with the ethical principles featured in South Africa's policy documents, which permit weapons sales that will be used for legitimate defense and security purposes but not to exacerbate tensions and expand conflict. Moreover, a number of South Africa's arms sales to areas of violent conflict, including those to Colombia, Congo-Brazzaville, and Algeria, are to countries that have very poor human rights records. This latter set of arms deals stand in sharp contrast to the clearly stated pledge, cited above, that "South Africa shall not transfer arms to countries which systematically violate or suppress human rights and fundamental freedoms."
Profit vs. Human Rights
Addressing the controversies over South African arms deals with abusive governments and countries in conflict, the CHRI noted in its report that the "disturbing record of arms sales since April 1994 has fed the perception, domestically and internationally, that the ANC Government's foreign policy is haphazard and that South Africa has failed to become a restrained and responsible arms trader." It went on to add that recent arms deals "suggest that maintaining jobs in the arms industry, and other economic considerations, are more important than the Government's stated commitment to human rights principles." The group noted that the net returns from South Africa's arms exports are relatively insignificant, especially once the cost of subsidies for the defense industry are taken into account.136
In many cases of controversial arms export decisions, observers have seen sudden shifts in policy. These shifts were apparently driven by differing views within the cabinet regarding the relative importance of "realist" assessments of South Africa's immediate political and economic interests, and views based on a commitment to human rights and a recognition of the need to reduce arms flows, especially into the African conflicts most likely to affect South Africa's own internal security.
In several cases, the "realist view" appeared to prevail until publicity about a deal provoked media and nongovernmental protests, prompting the government to back down and restate its commitment to human rights criteria. The following examples highlight discrepancies between South Africa's arms export policy and its arms trade practices. Some cases point to the inconsistent application of criteria with respect to arms sales to areas of armed conflict and repressive governments. Several other cases, those involving arms sales to highly abusive actors, reveal an ambivalence about the country's human rights commitments.
Rwanda and the Great Lakes
Following a storm of protest over a decision to approve arms sales to Rwanda in September 1996,137 the South African government suspended the sale of weapons to that country in November 1996 over fears that South African arms might be used by Rwandan forces to commit abuses.138 The NCACC backtracked in July 1997 and gave the green light to an arms transfer despite a flare-up in the fighting in western Rwanda and the involvement of Rwandan troops in a series of atrocities both within Rwanda and in the former Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo or DRC), in which Rwanda intervened in late 1996. Minister Asmal described the equipment to be exported as "non-lethal" and "non-sensitive," but added that, "in the future, South Africa will be prepared to consider supplies which fall in the higher, lethal categories ... subject to the observance of assurances such as those publicly given by the vice president of Rwanda" that South African-supplied weapons would not be used outside Rwandan territory.139 A chorus of protest from national and international human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, accompanied this reversal of policy. Faced with mounting criticism, the government justified the sale by declaring that a void would have been more dangerous, that Rwanda's was a legitimate and internationally recognized government, and that South Africa's ultimate goal in the Great Lakes region was complete demilitarization.140 In the light of this stated goal, however, it remains to be explained why South Africa decided toprovide weapons not only to Rwanda, but to Uganda, and the Republic of the Congo in 1997 in the face of compelling evidence in these countries and in the region that pointed to grave human rights abuses and persistent instability. The value of sales to all three countries in 1997 totaled over R.56 million (U.S.$12.2 million).141 In 1998, South Africa again furnished arms to Rwanda and Uganda, this time worth over R.21 million (U.S.$3.8 million).142
To be sure, South Africa was not alone in praising countries like Rwanda and Uganda, despite their poor human rights records.143 In 1998, for example, President Clinton also saluted Rwanda's Paul Kagame and Uganda's Yoweri Museveni as leaders in bringing about an "African renaissance."144 Later that year, both African countries were deeply involved in the renewal of armed conflict in the DRC. Their troops have fought alongside Congolese armed groups in eastern Congo, where gross human rights abuses have abounded.145
Angola, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, all partners with South Africa in the Southern Africa Development Community, also intervened in the DRC war, as did Burundi. South Africa armed several of the participants in the war: Namibia and Zimbabwe bought South African weapons in 1996, 1997, and 1998; Angola purchased "non-lethal" military equipment from South Africa in 1996, as well as arms in 1998; and Zimbabwe continued to receive "non-lethal" military equipment in 1999.146 The DRC itself also received South African military support equipment weaponry in 1998 worth R.1,778,000 (U.S.$324,000). The deal with the DRC allegedly included five Casspir armored personnel carriers sold in September 1998.147 The DRC government has been responsible for gross and widespread violations of human rights and international humanitarian law resulting in numerous deaths of civilians.148
While not all of the parties to the war may be directly linked to human rights abuses and might not therefore be disqualified from receiving South African weapons on human rights grounds, these arms sales run counter to SouthAfrica's policy commitment not to sell weapons when such sales contribute to the escalation of regional conflicts.149 By 1999, South Africa said it had halted sales of lethal military equipment to Rwanda and Uganda, as well as the other belligerents in the DRC. The government's annual arms export report, covering sales from 1997 to 1999, indicated that the NCACC "has been consistent in the decision taken in August 1998 that no lethal equipment will be exported to any of the countries involved in the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo."150 For example, Ronnie Kasrils, then deputy defense minister, stated that the military support equipment sold to the DRC in mid-1998 had been put on hold and that spare parts would also be withheld.151
Policy involving more distant but no less volatile regions also saw a conflict between human rights considerations and realpolitik, though in the case of Turkey it did not, in the end, result in arms transfers. In August 1995, South Africa pleased human rights and arms control advocates with a cabinet decision to suspend weapons sales to Turkey on the basis of serious human rights concerns, including widespread torture and mass displacement.152
Not surprisingly, pressure from the defense establishment was brought to bear to reverse this decision: according to press reports, lucrative contracts for South African bombs, ammunition and helicopters had been at stake. Denel had also reportedly spent millions trying to promote its long-range artillery systems in Turkey.153 In 1997 the cabinet reneged on its human rights commitments and lifted the embargo against Turkey, despite the absence of any significant improvement in respect for human rights by the Turkish government; the Turkish government announced that South Africa would accordingly be invited to bid for a multibillion dollar tender for military helicopters.154 Yet, in August that same year, it was reported that the South African cabinet had vetoed the export of twelve Rooivalk attack helicopters to Turkey, though Denel denied that it had any plans to sell the weapons.155 Turkey promptly declared that its counter embargo imposed against South Africa when arms sales to Turkey were first banned had never in fact been lifted, and that reports that Turkey had asked South Africa to supply the weapons were therefore "wishful thinking." The Department of Foreign Affairs issued a statement that all future applications for arms sales to Turkey would be dealt with "on a case to case basis."156
In July 1997, Nelson Mandela visited Indonesia, a fellow-member with the new South Africa of the non-aligned movement, and one whose government had made financial contributions to the ANC both before and after 1994. At the time of the visit, the South African president declared that: "If it becomes necessary for us to supply arms for external defense to Indonesia, we will do so without hesitation."157 Indonesia was then still occupying East Timor, where its forces had been responsible over many years for gross human rights abuses against the local population.158 Responding to questions about the human rights record of Indonesia in East Timor, Mandela added that South Africa would not take advantage of the two countries' friendship "to say what should be done."159 In 1998 South Africa provided Indonesia with military support equipment worth R.2,597,000 (U.S.$473,000).160
Another highly controversial example of the influence of old relationships in the arms equation became apparent in 1997. This time, the prospective customer was Algeria, another ANC backer, which a year later ended up buying major weapons systems worth R.83,349,000 (U.S.$15.2 million), and spent R.1,584,000 (U.S.$288,000) for "non-sensitive equipment" from South Africa.161 Algeria was involved at the time in a brutal civil conflict. More than 100,000 Algerians have died in the continuing conflict, and both armed Islamic opposition groups and government forces have been implicated in atrocities and systematic abuses.
The 1997 deal reportedly concerned the Seeker remote-piloted vehicle, a pilotless plane with state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, and possibly Rooivalk attack helicopters.162 Minister Asmal stated in parliament that the weapons included "sensitive, major significant equipment" and "nonsensitive equipment," and that cabinet had stipulated that the weapons should be used only for external self-defense and not for internal repression.163 The Algerian government declared that the Seeker would be used only to patrol its borders and oil pipeline network.164
In an interview with Human Rights Watch, then Deputy Minister of Defense Kasrils recalled that the debate on Algeria was not an easy one.165 Asmal echoed that recollection and implied that the deal with Algeria had not sailed through smooth waters. Unable to reach a consensus in the NCACC, he said the matter was referred to the cabinet for resolution. However, once the decision to go ahead was taken, he was "totally comfortable with it."166 Asmalfurther argued that Seekers cannot be used for internal surveillance. Arms experts maintain that the Rooivalks possibly included in the deal, as well as other attack helicopters in Algeria's arsenal, could have a significant impact against Algerian Islamic insurgents.167 After the controversial 1997 deal, which was completed in 1998, South Africa went ahead with further arms sales to Algeria. Human Rights Watch was able to confirm in early 1999 that upgrade packages for Mi-17 military helicopters and Mi-24 attack helicopters in Algeria's arsenals had come up in negotiations with South Africa, and by May 2000 it was reported that South Africa was refitting Algerian Mi-24 attack helicopters with high-speed cannons.168 In its annual report, the South African government indicated that it sold R.314 million (U.S.$51.3 million) worth of arms and related services to Algeria in 1999.169 The value of these purchases made Algeria South Africa's top arms client that year.170
After a visit to China in June 2000, Defense Minister Mosiuoa Lekota reignited a controversy in South Africa over arms sales to China with his announcement that he and his Chinese counterpart had discussed a possible arms deal. He told reporters that they had agreed in principle to "examine the precise terms of such an agreement," which he hoped would be completed by the end of the year.171 Nongovernmental groups and opposition politicians immediately expressed dismay that South Africa hoped to sell arms to China, where widespread abuses, including systematic constraints on free association, assembly, and religious expression, have worsened since 1998.172 The Democratic Party added that, by engaging in arms trade negotiations with Beijing, South Africa risked undermining its ethical arms trade standards.173 The country's far-reaching arms export policy, as described above, bars weapons exports to countries that systematically suppress fundamental freedoms. It also pledges the government to exercise particular restraint when the recipient country is known to commit serious violations of political, religious, and other rights.
In an apparent departure from these policy commitments, Minister Lekota remarked in China that human rights issues would not stand in the way of a potential deal.174 Defense ministry spokesperson Sam Mkhwanazi appeared to take a somewhat different position when, responding to criticism, he indicated that South Africa and China woulddiscuss the possible inclusion of clauses related to human rights issues as part of any arms sale.175 Both officials made clear that South Africa intended to go forward with the arms deal negotiations.
This decision was consistent with South Africa's past record with regard to China. In 1996 and 1997, South Africa sold R.284,000 (U.S.$66,500) and R.8,629,000 (U.S.$1.9 million) worth of non-sensitive military equipment to China, which is under a European Union arms embargo imposed after the bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy activists.176 In December 1997, when South Africa announced that it would end its "two-Chinas" policy and establish a diplomatic relationship only with the People's Republic of China, it stated that it viewed diplomatic ties with Beijing as an opportunity "to discuss...human rights issues" with China. However, the South African government has repeatedly failed to raise human right issues in meetings with Chinese officials.177
Other Arms Sales to Human Rights Abusers
These arms controversies have not occurred in isolation; to the contrary, South Africa has repeatedly opted to approve arms deals that it might have rejected on human rights grounds.178 Angola's long and brutal war, for example, has been fed in part by South African arms purchases by the government of Angola, whose forces have been responsible for gross and persistent human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law.179 Another example is offered by Congo-Brazzaville, to which South Africa has supplied weapons, including after civil war broke out in 1997.180 The impact of South Africa's weapons sales have also been felt in Colombia, where SouthAfrica has consistently sold weapons over several years despite the record of gross abuse by Colombian military and paramilitary forces.181129 Human Rights Watch interviews with arms trade experts, nongovernmental organizations, journalists, and parliamentarians, Johannesburg, January 26-30, and Cape Town, February 3 and 4, 1999. 130 According to NCACC chair Kader Asmal, interviewed on SAFM November 15, 1995, as reported by BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, November 17, 1995. The E.U. and U.S. had already imposed restrictions on arms sales to Nigeria, following the November 1993 coup that put General Abacha in power; these restrictions were strengthened following the October 30, 1995, sentencing and November 10 execution of Ken Saro Wiwa and eight other members of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP). 131 William Onyango, "Kenyan teachers applaud Mandela," Mail and Guardian (Johannesburg), October 24 to 30, 1997. 132 Human Rights Watch interview with Ronnie Kasrils, Pretoria, January 31, 1999. 133 SAPA, October 20, 1999, and "S.Africa sells arms to Pakistan despite freeze," Reuters, September 9, 2000. 134 SAPA, August 21, 2000. 135 Anthony Stoppard, "Disarmament-South Africa: Stained Arms Record Hard to Shake," InterPress Service, December 20, 1999. See also Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Over a Barrel: Light Weapons and Human Rights in the Commonwealth, report presented to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Durban, South Africa, November 12-15, 1999.
136 Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Over a Barrel, pp. 192, 195.
137 Robert Block and Kurt Swart, "Storm over SA approval of arms sales to Rwanda," Sunday Independent (Johannesburg), September 29, 1996; SAPA, October 30, 1996.
138 Aziz Pahad had declared that South Africa would refrain from selling arms to Rwanda until peace and stability returned to the region. Lionel Williams, "South Africa Suspends Arms Sales to Rwanda," Panafrican News Agency (Dakar), November 7, 1996. At that time this deal, worth U.S.$18.5 million, was suspended, a number of armored vehicles had already been provided to the Rwandan government. The U.N. arms embargo against Rwanda had been lifted on September 1, 1996.
139 SAPA, July 23, 1997; Alexandra Zavis, "South Africa resumes arms trade with Rwanda," Associated Press, July 23, 1997. Human Rights Watch has not been able to determine whether this condition has been observed, but it notes that armed Rwandan troops have been continuously involved in fighting in the DRC since 1996.
140 Human Rights Watch interviews with Kader Asmal, Pretoria, October 28, 1996, and Cape Town, February 3, 1999.
141 Directorate of Conventional Arms Control, "South African Export Statistics for Conventional Arms: 1997-1999." Asmal stated in April 1997 that South Africa had a guarantee from Uganda that the weapons sold would not be channeled across the border to rebels in then Zaire. SAPA, April 24, 1997.
142 Directorate of Conventional Arms Control, "South African Export Statistics for Conventional Arms: 1997-1999." In 1998 South Africa sold weapons worth nearly R.19.6 million (U.S.$3.6 million) to Rwanda and worth R.1.5 million (U.S.$273,000) to Uganda.
143 See, for example, Human Rights Watch, Rwanda: the Search for Security and Human Rights Abuses," A Human Rights Watch Short Report, vol.12, no.1 (A), April 2000, and Human Rights Watch, Uganda: Hostile to Democracy-The Movement System and Political Repression in Uganda (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1999).
144 Janet Fleischman, "Time for a new Africa policy," op-ed published in The Washington Times, March 2, 1998.
145 Human Rights Watch has documented abuses committed in the conflict in the DRC. See Human Rights Watch/Africa, "Democratic Republic of Congo: Eastern Congo Ravaged-Killing Civilians and Silencing Protest," A Human Rights Watch Short Report, vol. 12, no. 3 (A), May 2000 and Human Rights Watch/Africa, "Democratic Republic of Congo: Casualties of War-Civilians, Rule of Law, and Democratic Freedoms," A Human Rights Watch Short Report, vol. 11, no. 1, February 1999. In addition, Ugandan and Rwandan troops turned weapons on each other in June 2000, taking a harsh toll on civilians in the city of Kisangani. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) indicated that at least 619 civilians and 141 soldiers were killed, and that some 1,700 people, most of them civilians, were wounded in the fighting. ICRC, "Democratic Republic of the Congo: ICRC emergency work continues following truce in Kisangani," July 6, 2000, available at www.icrc.org. Uganda and Rwanda earlier had clashed in Kisangani in August 1999 and, briefly, in May 2000. See Human Rights Watch, "Civilian Killings By Warring Parties In Kisangani: Uganda and Rwanda Urged to Spare Congolese Civilians," press release, August 18, 1999, at www.hrw.org/press/1999/aug/uganda818.htm.
146 Directorate of Conventional Arms Control, "South African Export Statistics for Conventional Arms: 1997-1999."
147 Human Rights Watch interview with an arms trade analyst, Johannesburg, January 30, 1999.
148 While the total number of civilians killed will never be known, the total for Kinshasa alone was probably several hundred. This estimate is based on multiple interviews and reports from local and international organizations based in Kinshasa. No comprehensive report or breakdowns of the number of combatants and civilians killed were available from these organizations. Human Rights Watch, "Casualties of War," p. 11.
149 White Paper on Defence, chapter 8, para. 17.3, available at www.polity.org.za/govdocs/white_papers/defencewp.html. In addition, the White Paper states that, "Arms sales should continuously be evaluated and reviewed, especially with regard to countries in war-prone regions, in order to avoid the possible escalation of regional conflict," (at chapter 8, para. 14.4).
150 It clarified that an exception was made for mine-protected vehicles sold to a private mining company in Angola. As noted, non-lethal equipment worth approximately R.9.7 million (U.S.$1.6 million) was sold to Zimbabwe in 1999. Directorate of Conventional Arms Control, "Media Release (March 2000)" and "South African Export Statistics for Conventional Arms: 1997-1999," both available at www.mil.za/sandf/dro/ncacc/ncacc.htm.
151 Human Rights Watch interview, Pretoria, January 31, 1999.
152 See, for example, the following Human Rights Watch publications regarding human rights conditions in Turkey in that time period: "Forced Displacement of Ethnic Kurds from Southeastern Turkey" (October 1994), Weapons Transfers and Violations of the Laws of War in Turkey (1995), and "Torture and Mistreatment in Pre-Trial Detention by Anti-Terror Police" (March 1997). For an update account that makes note of some progress on human rights, refer to Human Rights Watch, World Report 2000 (New York: Human Rights Watch: 1999), p. 298.
153 Stefaans Brümmer, "Revealed: Where South Africa Can Sell Arms, Mail and Guardian (Johannesburg), July 29, 1999, and "Threats to Arms Contracts Through Media Publicity Feared," SouthScan, vol.12, no. 29 (August 15, 1997).
154 Noel Brunys, "Anglican Bishops Rebuke South Africa for Continuing Weapons Exports," ENI Bulletin (Ecumenical News International from the World Council of Churches), no.10, May 28, 1997; SAPA, April 18, 1997; Marion Edmunds, "SA lifts Turkish arms ban," Mail and Guardian (Johannesburg), May 9 to 15, 1997.
155 "State stops Turkey arms deal," Sunday Independent (Johannesburg), August 10, 1997; "SA will not sell Rooivalk to Turkey," Star (Johannesburg), August 12, 1997.
156 SAPA, August 11 and 14, 1997; Garth Shelton, "South African Arms Sales to North Africa and the Middle East," p. 26.
157 SAPA, July 15, 1997
158 In fact, the months of May, June, and July 1997, just before Mandela's announcement, appeared to mark an intensification of the conflict in East Timor and associated human rights abuses. See Human Rights Watch/Asia, "Indonesia/East Timor: Deteriorating Human Rights in East Timor," A Human Rights Watch Short Report, vol. 9, no.9, September 1997.
159 "Mandela will sell arms to Indonesia `without hesitation'," Electronic Mail and Guardian, www.mg.co.za/news, July 15, 1997. On the same occasion, Mandela visited imprisoned East
Timorese resistance leader Xanana Gusmão, marking the first time that Xanana, imprisoned since 1992, had been allowed out of detention to meet a visiting dignitary. The visit thus helped give an enhanced international profile to Xanana's plight. In November 1997, however, Mandela conferred to Suharto the Order of Good Hope. In 1995 Mandela admitted that Indonesia had given financial support to the ANC. José Ramos Horta, "Mandela must take a stand on East Timor," Sunday Independent, (Johannesburg), May 10, 1998; "Gaffes almost sink Mandela's peace initiative," SouthScan, vol.12, no.28 (August 8, 1997); Stefaans Brümmer, "Mandela's strange links to human rights abuser," Mail and Guardian, (Johannesburg), May 26, 1995, and Gaye Davis, "Mandela placates East Timorese from his bed," Mail and Guardian,(Johannesburg), September 20, 1996.
160 Directorate of Conventional Arms Control, "South African Export Statistics for Conventional Arms: 1997-1999."
162 Newton Kanhema, "Algeria Buys Arms from South Africa," Panafrican News Agency, October 12, 1997, and Robert Kirby: "Taking up arms with Asmal," Mail and Guardian (Johannesburg), April 9, 1998. Denel was invited to demonstrate the Rooivalk helicopter to the Algerian government in October 1997; Denel (Pty) Ltd media statement, October 17, 1997.
163 SAPA, March 18, 1998. See also Alan George, "Algeria on Arms-Buying Spree," The Middle East, February 1, 1999, p. 15.
164 SAPA, January 29, 1998.
165 Human Rights Watch interview, Pretoria, January 31, 1999.
166 Human Rights Watch interview, Cape Town, February 3, 1999.
167 Robert Lowry: "Chopper Wars. The Competition for Lucrative Military Helicopter Market is Rapidly Intensifying," Arabies Trends, reprinted in World Reporter, January 1, 2000.
168 Human Rights Watch interview with an arms expert, Cape Town, February 3 and 4, 1999, and Human Rights Watch interview with an Armscor official, Pretoria, February 9, 1999. "Algerian Air Force `Hinds' undergo high-speed Vektor cannon refit in South Africa," Jane's International Defense Review, May 1, 2000. According to the article, most of Algeria's 33 to 35 Mi-24 "Hind" helicopters were being refitted with a high-speed cannon because of problems experienced with machine guns in "lengthy operations during civil unrest."
169 In 1999, South Africa sold R.84 million (U.S.$13.7 million) worth of sensitive major significant equipment to Algeria, along with non-sensitive equipment worth R.207 million (U.S.$33.8 million) and general services of R.23 million (U.S.$3.8 million). These figures are rounded to the nearest million rand. Directorate of Conventional Arms Control, "South African Export Statistics for Conventional Arms: 1997-1999."
170 Ibid. India, which was ranked second overall, actually purchased more sensitive major significant equipment in 1999. It bought R.205 million (U.S.$33.5 million) of equipment in this category.
171 "SA and China to Sign Agreement Soon: Lekota," SAPA, June 10, 2000.
172 "Govt Contravenes Own Policy on Arms Exports: Claims," SAPA, June 13, 2000, available at www.anc.org.za/ancdocs/briefing/nw20000614/42.html. On deteriorating human rights conditions in China, see Human Rights Watch, "China Human Rights Update," February 2000, www.hrw.org/campaigns/china-99/china-update.htm.
173 For example, the Democratic Party noted that the potential deal "could well be in violation of the rationale and principles governing the sale of conventional arms set out by the South African National Conventional Control Committee vis-a-vis human rights and fundamental freedoms," as quoted in "Defence Minister Criticised For Dealing With China," PANA, June 6, 2000.
174 "China Declines Comment on South Africa-China Arms Deal," AFP, June 6, 2000, and "SA and China to Sign Agreement Soon."
175 "Govt Contravenes Own Policy on Arms Exports: Claims."
176 Directorate of Conventional Arms Control, "South African Export Statistics for Conventional Arms: 1996-1998." Information on the E.U. arms embargo is available at projects.sipri.se/expcon/euframe/euchiemb.htm.
177 Both Deputy President Thabo Mbeki and Nelson Mandela refrained from bringing up human rights during their visits to Beijing in April 1998, and May 1999, respectively; again, China explicitly denied that human rights issues were discussed during President Jiang Zemin's visit to South Africa in April 2000. This omission was justified on the ground of "non-interference" with other countries' affairs. SAPA, December 6, 1997, SAPA, April 13, 1998, and SAPA, May 7, 1999; ZA Now (website of the Mail and Guardian, Johannesburg), April 26, 2000. In June 2000, a defense ministry spokesperson confirmed that Defense Minister Mosiuoa Lekota did not raise human rights issues during his week-long visit to China. "SA's Arms Export Plans Send Wrong Signal," Business Day (South Africa), June 14, 2000. South Africa did take a stand for human rights in China when, in 1997 and 1999, it voted against China's successful effort to avoid any discussion of its human rights record at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva.
178 One nongovernmental organization in South Africa evaluated the country's arms exports using a broad interpretation of the country's human rights standards and also taking into consideration economic circumstances in recipient countries. In its May 2000 report, the group concluded that fifty-seven of the eighty-three South African arms clients from 1996-1999 did not satisfy NCACC criteria. Ceasefire Campaign, "Report on the Human Rights Situation in Recipient Countries of South African Arms," Johannesburg, May 2000.
179 Angola was the recipient of South African "non-lethal" support for R.43,000 (U.S.$10,000) in 1996; sensitive major significant, and sensitive significant equipment for R.3,151,000 (U.S.$573,000), and R.5,794,000 (U.S.$1.1 million), respectively, in 1998. As noted above, a 1999 sale of sensitive significant equipment worth R.1 million (U.S.$163,500) comprised armored vehicles sold to a private mining company. Directorate of Conventional Arms Control, "South African Export Statistics for Conventional Arms: 1996-1998," and "South African Export Statistics for Conventional Arms: 1997-1999." Arms purchases from South Africa, as well as human rights abuses, are described in Human Rights Watch, Angola Unravels: The Rise and Fall of the Lusaka Peace Process (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1999).
180 In 1996, South Africa approved the sale of R.60 million (U.S.$14 million) in weapons to Congo-Brazzaville. "SA Sold arms to war-torn Congo," Khareen Pech, Mail and Guardian (South Africa), August 15-21, 1997. In 1997, after civil war had broken out, it sold a further R.32 million (U.S.$7 million) in arms, including sensitive major significant equipment valued at R.25 million (U.S.$5.4 million). Directorate of Conventional Arms Control, "South African Export Statistics for Conventional Arms: 1997-1999."
181 South Africa's arm ales to Colombia included in 1997 approximately R.60 million (U.S.$13 million) in sensitive major significant equipment, R.10 million (U.S.$2.2 million) in sensitive significant equipment, and R.2 million (U.S.$434,000) in non-lethal equipment. In 1998, these categories represented R.21 million (U.S.$3.8 million), R.14 million (U.S.$2.6 million), and R.10 million (U.S.$1.8 million) in sales, respectively, in addition to R.14,000 (U.S.$2550) in non-sensitive equipment. The year 1999 saw South Africa sell Colombia nearly R.22 million (U.S.$3.6 million) in sensitive major significant equipment, R.7 million (U.S.$1.1 million) in sensitive significant equipment, and R.160,000 (U.S.$26,000) in non-lethal equipment. Directorate of Conventional Arms Control, "South African Export Statistics for Conventional Arms: 1997-1999." For a discussion of Colombia's human rights record, see Human Rights Watch, The Ties That Bind: Colombia and Military-Paramilitary Links (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2000), and Human Rights Watch, War Without Quarter: Colombia and International Humanitarian Law (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1998).