Marianne Thamm | Daily Maverick | 3 March 2021 |
Weapons produced in South Africa are awash in Yemen and being used by numerous parties in that war, says a report by Open Secrets.
Since the outbreak six years ago of the bitter regionalised war in Yemen resulting in a desperate humanitarian crisis, South African arms companies, including Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM), have profited handsomely from the sale of weapons to parties central to the conflict.
In doing so RDM may be guilty of contributing to gross human rights violations in Yemen, a small republic in the southern Arabian Peninsula.
This according to an investigation by NPO Open Secrets titled “Profiting from Misery — South Africa’s war crimes in Yemen”. The report is to be released on 3 March 2021 during a webinar with Daily Maverick which can be attended virtually at noon.
The report reveals that when civil war broke out in Yemen in early 2015, South African arms companies exported weapons worth R2.81-billion to Saudi Arabia, and weapons worth R4.74-billion to the UAE. Both countries are involved in the conflict.
“These exports include mortars and mortar shells, artillery guns and shells, ammunition, armoured combat vehicles and software for various types of electronic warfare. Much of this materiel has likely been used as part of the Saudi and UAE offensive in Yemen, with devastating consequences for the civilian population.”
Rheinmetall Denel Munitions (RDM) was requested by Open Secrets investigators Michael Marchant, Zen Mathe, Caryn Dolley and Hennie van Vuuren to respond to specific charges and findings, but declined to do so, specifically with regard to munitions used in an attack on the Yemini strategic port city of Hodeidah in 2020.