Noodsaaklike onreëlmatighede? Die 1964 Cillié-kommissie en wapenaankope vir Suid-Afrika
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From April to October 1964, Justice Pieter Malan (P.M.) Cillié was the chairman of the Commission of Inquiry into alleged irregularities with arms procurements by the Department of Defence and the South African Defence Force. News reports and public political discussions hinted at dishonesty in South Africa’s arms procurement process. In an effort to quell rumours that could undermine confidence in the state, the Verwoerd government appointed the 1964 Cillié commission of enquiry. At the time of the commission’s proceedings, several individuals were identified as the culprits in tender fraud for military purchases as a result of bribery and corruption. Commandant Barnie van der Merwe as well as the arms agents Hans Sieger and Lionel Schwartz were, according to Cillié, the prime culprits. In addition, Cillié had the task to analyse the South African state’s procurement process. Cillié also obtained relevant evidence from 13 dedicated contracts that specifically pointed to arms agents at the centre of any alleged irregularities. When he submitted his commission’s report, the onus was on the Verwoerd-government to implement necessary changes to its arms procurement process. Similar irregularities had to be prevented from happening again. Due to the 1963 United Nations arms embargo against South Africa and the Cold War conflicts, the Verwoerd-government had to ensure that the South African Defence Force was properly equipped at all times. The 1964 Cillié Commission contributed to this ideal by alerting the Verwoerd-government to the need for South Africa to develop and manufacture weaponry and military craft as a matter of urgency.
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