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Synopsis

"The clerk of the court called all rise as judge Blignaut swept in dressed in his black gown. He sat down, and moments later we rose again as he swept out, having pronounced the verdict. 'The clerk handed [my lawyer] a copy of the judgment. I received my own copy by e-mail that afternoon. [My lawyer] commented that it was being awarded against me in an issue brought in the public interest.' The issue was the South African arms deal scandal. The costs were almost a million rand. The plaintiff was Terry Crawford-Browne. As the scandal around the arms deal gathered force during the late 1990s, Crawford-Browne launched a campaign against an armaments acquisition programme that has locked South Africa into twenty years of debt repayment. With no discernible foreign enemy, he asked, why did we need such sophisticated weaponry: The answer was simple: in any arms deal the commisions are huge. With considerable courage, the man who acted for Archbishop Desmond Tutu during the banking sanctions campaign of the 1980s has taken on the post-apartheid government for its betrayal of the struggle against apartheid. In a poignant, telling account he describes the ANC's slide from moral high ground of the sanctions campaign to the corrupted lowlands where weapons of war are traded.

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