R1.2-billion SA spy satellite questions dodged: report

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula refused to answer questions about the existence of a R1.2-billion spy satellite project, Sunday Times reported on Sunday, 26 January 2013.

According to the report, the minister said that she would not be drawn into discussing matters of South Africa’s state security in public.

News of the satellite emerged last week when Sunday Times reported that the whereabouts of “Consolidated Project Flute”, a Kondor-E spy satellite commissioned from Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyenia, were unknown.

Democratic Alliance MP, David Maynier, labelled the project a secret billion-Rand bungle by SA defence intelligence, saying that it appears SA has spent money financing a Russian company to build a satellite we will have no control over and won’t be able to operate from SA.

Maynier said that he would not back down from calling the minister to account, the Sunday Times reported.

Special adviser to the defence minister, Mike Ramagoma, reportedly said that the Department of Defence was ready to account to parliament about any alleged mismanagement of the project.

However, the paper went on to report that neither Ramagoma nor Mapisa-Nqakula would confirm nor deny whether the satellite even exists.

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R1.2-billion SA spy satellite questions dodged: report