DA not impressed with Rheinmetall Denel involvement in Saudi armaments factory
The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party wants to know why a South African company has been an integral part of setting up a factory to manufacture ammunition for a number of different weapons in Saudi Arabia. Quoting the Saudi News Agency on the opening ceremony, the party’s shadow defence minister, Kobus Marais, wants a ministerial answer as to why South Africa has partnered with Saudi in the production of weapons and armaments. defenceWeb published the story on the Saudi munitions factory on April 4. This publication also made mention of President Jacob Zuma’s presence at the opening alongside Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Marais wants Parliament to be briefed by Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on why neither Parliament nor the National Treasury was advised on “a new arms merger” between South Africa and Saudi Arabia. He also wants her to tell the country which countries, besides Saudi, will use armaments produced by the factory, built by Saudi’s Military Industries Corporation in conjunction with Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM). The new facility in Al-Kharj, 77 km south of Riyadh, is able to produce 60, 81 and 120 mm mortars, 105 and 155 mm artillery shells and aircraft bombs weighing from 500 to 2 000 lb. The facility is expected to produce 300 shells or 600 mortar rounds a day, according to Mohamed Al-Mady, head of Saudi Military Industries Corporation. He added the facility would be managed by 130 engineers and operators. RDM was reportedly paid in the region of $240 million for its services and with operate the factory in conjunction with the Saudi Military Industries Corporation.