Wednesday, April 23, 2008

'Chinese-looking' tanks not bound for Zim

A TRUCKLOAD of “Chinese-looking” tanks spotted by a military buff outside Pietermaritzburg early yesterday caused a brief stir over whether the controversial arms consignment bound for Zimbabwe had slipped through the net.

“Tanks? Did you say tanks,” asked Defence Secretary January Masilela. “I know nothing about that.”The tanks, under a partially open tarpaulin, were seen being driven through Cato Ridge, outside Pietermaritzburg, at 7.40am.A former military officer suggested they may form part of the controversial consignment bound for Zimbabwe.

However, ship’s clearing agent Anton van Rensburg said: “They are going to the military in the Northern Cape for joint military exercises between Singapore and South Africa. They have been temporarily imported for the exercises which will take place next week and finish in May. They are Singaporean tanks . They are definitely not going to Zimbabwe. They have got nothing to do with Zimbabwe. They will be re-exported at the end of the month.”

Van Rensburg said members of the Singaporean armed forces also arrived in South Africa, as they are the only people permitted to drive the tanks. — Sapa

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