Thursday was a busy day for the current mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille in Pretoria when she stood before the Seriti Commission. She submitted an affidavit in which she said that the fact that government claimed they did not have evidence about any wrong-doing was not true. In addition, she presented the commission with an affidavit in which she called for a judicial inquiry to probe the arms acquisition programme and the offsets thereof.
In the affidavit, de Lille told the commission that she had made the call in September 1999 while she was still an MP for the Pan Africanist Congress. This call, she added, was to determine whether certain government officials and public representatives were guilty of criminal conduct in the arms procurement process.
She said, in the affidavit that the basis for her call was a document and annexures which were given to her by concerned members of the ANC. This document became known as the De Lille Dossier. Naturally, she added that she was not at liberty to disclose the source of her information but she believed that the document in her possession contained information that she believed government should investigate.
De Lille emphasized in her affidavit that, at no point had she indicated that the allegations contained in the dossier proved the guilt of any person mentioned therein. She went on to make herself available to the commission by saying that she had sufficient personal knowledge regarding allegations contained in the secret document to assist the commission by way of oral evidence.
When she got a chance to give evidence before the commission on Thursday, Patricia de Lille argued that she did not believe that the members of government back in 1999, were being genuine when they said there was no evidence of wrong doing during the now notorious arms procurement deal. She consistently intimated that government was repeatedly presented evidence of possible wrongdoing in the 1999 multi-billion rand arms deal. She said in the year 2000, former auditor general Shauket Fakie submitted a report to Parliament that showed irregularities in the procurement process, that people did not adhere to procedures regarding procurement.
When evidence leader Simmy Lebala told De Lille that former president Thabo Mbeki testified at the commission that an inter-ministerial committee had, until the day he left the presidency, not received any evidence of irregularities regarding the arms deal, de Lille said a joint task team, consisting of the National Prosecuting Authority, the auditor general, and the public protector, appointed to investigate the arms deal allegations, had told government things did not go according to procedure. She also expressed surprise that former president Mbeki had not seen all this as evidence, something which has been public knowledge for such a long time.
When Lebala further suggested that former defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota testified at the commission that he kept asking for evidence that corroborated the allegations, she responded by saying that she could not have given him evidence to be used to investigate himself and his peers, adding that that was the work of the police. She, however referred to the investigation by the joint task force as a white wash. She suggested that they should have included the Special Investigating Unit.