President Jacob Zuma has finally admitted visiting an arms factory in Saudi Arabia earlier this year after many months of silence on the matter.
In a written reply to a parliamentary question, Zuma confirmed that he and five members of his Cabinet toured the Military Industries Corporation facilities.
The Cabinet members include: International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, State Security Minister David Mahlobo, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, and Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko.
President Zuma’s confirmation is coming months after his spokesperson, Bongani Majola, refused to either confirm or deny the report.
Military Industries Corporation facilities is an arms industry operated by Rheinmetall Denel Munition and South African arms company, Denel, owns a 49% stake in the enterprise.
As earlier presented by Defence Report, Zuma and his entourage were accompanied by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Defence.
Arms Factory Visit Not Shady
Throwing more light on the visit on Wednesday, Zuma replied DA MP, Erik Marais, that the visit was to promote South Africa’s military industry and fortify the defence procurement partnership between the two countries
He added: “Together with the Crown Prince, we symbolically unveiled a plaque of the military facility. We met with and took photographs with personnel and senior management of the Rheinmetall Denel Munition and the South African staff who are bringing expertise to the military factory. The visit was open to the media.”
Meanwhile, BuzzSouthAfrica gathered that the products expected to be produced in the factory include: mortars, artillery shells and aircraft-borne bombs, weighing up to 907kg.
The aforementioned products would mainly be used by the Saudi defence forces. However, it is still unclear whether some of these weapons would be exported to other countries.