Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
David Maynier. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

FRESH concern has arisen over pictures circulating on the internet of South African-made Ratel armoured combat vehicles in Libya, raising questions over possible illegal sales of military equipment and breaches of so-called end-user certificates.

It is not the first time that Ratels have turned up in countries that did not buy them. During civil unrest in Yemen over the past few years Ratels were also photographed, but the vehicles were apparently those sold to Jordan and their existence in Yemen appeared to be a breach of the end-user certificate.

Should a country purchasing weapons want to sell them to another country it would need South African approval for the change of end user.

On Monday, Democratic Alliance defence spokesman David Maynier said the emergence of the pictorial evidence of Ratels in Libya had led him to ask Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, as chairman of the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC), to launch a probe into the export of Ratels from South Africa.

"The investigation should include: an inquiry into the possible illegal export of South African-made Ratel armoured combat vehicles to Libya; and a comprehensive audit of all Ratel armoured combat vehicles exported from South Africa."

Mr Maynier said the United Nations conventional arms register reflects that 423 Ratel armoured combat vehicles were exported from South Africa between 2003 and 2012. Ghana bought 39, Jordan 321, Rwanda 35, Senegal 14 and Zambia 14.

"It is possible the NCACC authorised one of the end-user countries, listed in the table above, to transfer the Ratel armoured combat vehicles to Libya. However, it is more likely that an unreliable end-user country transferred the Ratel armoured combat vehicles to Libya."