Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has defended the decision of the National Conventional Arms Control Committee to approve the sale of arms to Turkey.

Mapisa-Nqakula says the sale was approved after advise from departments such as State Security, Defence Intelligence as well as the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

Answering questions in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), the Minister said there was, therefore, nothing that prevents the country from selling arms to Turkey.

“Currently there no impediments in law to trade with Turkey in terms of our act. In terms of the provision of the act, there’s always careful analysis and consideration before granting approval. For now, there is nothing preventing us from trading with Turkey. There isn’t even an arms embargo,” she said.

Some members have raised concerns that South African manufactured arms could be used in countries like Libya and Syria.

Turkey has faced backlash over its involvement in the Libyan war with France’s President accusing Ankara of massively importing jihadists into Libya.

French President Emmanuel Macron has labelled Ankara’s intervention as “criminal”.

Turkey has intervened decisively in recent weeks in Libya, providing air support, weapons and allied fighters from Syria to help the internationally recognised government based in Tripoli repel a year-long assault by eastern military leader Khalifa Haftar.

Turkey has also been engaged in talks with Russia in an effort to find a solution to the Libyan crisis. – Additional reporting by Reuters