via Cancellation of export to Zim a triumph – AfriForum by Juran van den Heever on 06 February, 2014
The decision by the Department of Defence to cancel the planned donation of 12 Alouette helicopters to Zimbabwe is a victory for human rights in the region.
This was the reaction of AfriForum Legal Advisor, Willie Spies, after it came to light that the South African Defence Force will not push ahead with plans to export the helicopters to Zimbabwe. The aircraft will be donated to Namibia instead.
An urgent court order obtained by AfriForum last year prevented the donation of the helicopters and parts to Zimbabwe, as there were fears that the Zimbabwean Government would use the aircraft against its own citizens.
According to Beeld the Air Force had said this week that final approval for the donation to Namibia was still pending, but that it seemed to be a formality. According to reports the aircraft and parts are packed and in hangars, ready to be shipped to Namibia. The French Government, the manufacturer, had apparently also approved the deal. This is a security measure to prevent the helicopters from falling into the wrong hands.
It is still unclear what Namibia will do with the helicopters. That country’s air force uses an Indian variant of the Alouette, which aviation specialists believe will make it relatively easy for the Namibians to get the South African craft off the ground.
Apparently South Africa had donated 150 Samil trucks and 24 G2 140 mm guns to Namibia in 1998. During this time, Namibia and Zimbabwe were involved in the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It later came to light that the guns were sent on to the DRC just after their arrival at Grootfontein.
AfriForum will monitor the transaction carefully. If it should happen that the donation to Namibia was merely a set to have the helicopters delivered to Zimbabwe in any event, a complaint of contempt of court will be brought against the relevant ministers and officials.