Opposition parties on Wednesday reacted with outrage to President Kgalema Motlanthe's refusal to institute a commission of inquiry into the arms deal.
"President Motlanthe's decision is all the more inexplicable as it comes fresh on the heels of allegations in leading UK newspapers that as much as UK40-million (about R604-million) was paid to a number of individuals in South Africa in order to help promote BAE's stake in the arms deal," Democratic Alliance spokesperson on the arms deal Eddie Trent said in a statement.
Independent Democrats leader Patricia De Lille slammed the decision as yet another attempt to cover-up corruption.
"The ANC is sending the message to its cadres that it is okay to commit corruption and divert resources from the poor; in effect that it is okay to steal from the poor, as long as you are a member of the ANC," read a statement.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former President FW de Klerk had written to Motlanthe requesting that he establish an independent commission to probe the arms deal.
The two Nobel prize winners' call received support from various quarters including clergymen, academics and politicians.
Motlanthe said he did not see the need for a commission of inquiry as the country's law enforcement agencies were best suited to deal with the matter.
However, Trent said he was encouraged by the fact that South Africans who had information on the arms deal could still forward it to law enforcement agencies.
Motlanthe's spokesperson Thabo Masebe said earlier: "Government has always maintained that if anyone has information implicating individuals in the arms deal, then that person should forward such information to law enforcement agencies."
Trent said the DA would continue to pursue the matter through the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) in Parliament.
"[W]e once again invite anyone with relevant information to make a submission to Scopa." - Sapa