SANDF rejects claims it tried to transport arms on SAA flight

Defence Force says there were no small arms or munitions on flight to Cuba

SANDF rejects claims it transported arms on SAA flight, says it was equipment for training

25 July 2018

The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) has rejected claims that it was trying to smuggle arms to Cuba when a chartered SAA flight was stopped at the Waterkloof air force base last week.

According to Sunday newspaper Rapport, the aircraft, which was meant to transport Cuban technicians back to their home country, was also carrying firearms and ammunition.

SANDF spokesperson Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi dispelled the reports and said the defence force rejected the allegations with contempt.

"The equipment in question was heavy vehicle simulators for training purposes and were cleared by customs and Armscor following due process," Mgobozi said.

"The SANDF would like to state that there were no small arms or munitions that formed part of the consignment as reported."

Mgobozi said the equipment was earmarked for the training of SANDF members in the technical aspects of simulator development, maintenance and repairs as part of the bilateral agreement reached with the Cuban Armed Forces.

"This is aligned with the need to develop the necessary technical scarce skills in the SANDF as identified and directed in Milestone 1 of the South African Defence Review 2015."

SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali told News24 earlier this week that the departure of the aircraft was delayed due to administrative issues.

"SAA policy does not permit the carriage of any items deemed Munitions of War, or parts thereof, regardless of the nature of the flight," he said on Monday.

At the time, he said the flight would still operate this week as per the agreement between the national carrier and the client in question.