The devil in the detail: How the Arms Deal changed everything


The `Arms Deal` was never a single event. Rather it was, and still is, a series of scandals and outrages, all contributing towards a dubious momentum that takes South Africa further away from transparent democratic practic

The Devil in the Detail, written by two of South Africa’s leading researchers on the subject, takes the reader on a journey of insight. Witness at close hand the breaking open of State secrets, with tales of outrageous personal enrichment. Explore how the multi-billion dollar Arms Deal emerged out of criminal networks of both the apartheid SADF and the ANC`s security apparatus, raising questions as to whether South Africa’s remarkable transition was not oiled, at key points, by criminal intent and collusion.

Follow the trail of the various offset deals donor after the Arms Deal – cumulatively worth as much – and discover that corruption continues to impact on defence spending in South Africa. Examine the economics and witness how the Arms Deal was not only economically irrational, but virtually suicidal, almost single-handedly derailing the post-apartheid economic project.  Finally read about the rise of the `shadow state`, the politicisation of prosecutions and the rise of the `spooks`. The remarkable conclusion of this landmark study is that years after the deal took place, the forces that drove its decisions have only grown in strength further blighting South Africa’s prospects for a future in which all may have a share.

This book, was researched as part of a project of the ISS Cape Town based Corruption & Governance Programme. It will be essential reading material for anyone following the Presidential Commission of Enquiry into the Arms Deal and everyone concerned with global corruption which blights democracy in South Africa.

What others have to say:

"The governments efforts to deal with corruption cannot be regarded as genuine and sincere until such time as the arms deal corruption is fairly and squarely dealt with in public hearings, conducted by an independent commission of inquiry...Its time has come”
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

“This is a very important book that reveals significant new information about the arms deal. The deal was the point at which South Africa lost its moral compass and remains crucial to our politics today. Unless we confront the full truth of the arms deal we will not be able to address the scourge of corruption and cronyism…This book is a significant contribution to that quest.”
Andrew Feinstein, former ANC MP and author on the international arms trade


Paul Holden (Independent Researcher) and Hennie van Vuuren (Former director, ISS Cape Town)

Buy the book:

The Devil in the Detail is available at all good bookstores in South Africa.

To purchase a copy online

To purchase an e-book


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