Court attempt to seize Denel assets postponed


Trade union Solidarity’s attempt to seize Denel assets via the Labour Court as a result of the State-owned defence and technology conglomerate not meeting all its commitments to employees is on hold until next year.

The trade union brought a contempt of court motion against Denel after the financially troubled State-owned enterprise (SOE) was ordered by the Labour Court to settle all arrear salaries and employee benefits payments. Denel did not meet the August deadline prompting Solidarity to file a contempt motion. It was set down to be heard yesterday (Thursday, 3 December). In anticipation of the court hearing, Solidarity members employed by Denel staged a protest march outside the Irene, Centurion, Denel campus which also houses its corporate offices.

The delay in hearing the Solidarity-brought contempt charge was the result of the Labour Court ruling “the Denel board must be given an opportunity to respond” to Solidarity’s founding affidavit, according to statement issued by the trade union.

“We are disappointed but respect the judge’s ruling,” Helgard Cronjé, Solidarity sector co-ordinator for aviation and defence, said.

“We still maintain it should be Denel’s first priority to give effect to the 4 August court order. Denel did not do so and we took them to court for contempt. We will be back in court on 27 January fighting for our members and for their due. We feel for our members, the innocent workers at Denel, who still receive less than half of their salaries and are the real victims of this sorry state of affairs,” he said.

Solidarity members working at Denel, its various divisions and operating companies, have not received full salaries, not had employer contributions made in respect of medical, pension and other employee benefits since mid-year.

In support of efforts to ensure Denel salaries and benefits are paid – in full – in October Solidarity addressed a letter to three Cabinet ministers. Recipients were Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula (Defence and Military Veterans), Tito Mboweni (Finance) and Pravin Gordhan (Public Enterprises). All three stand accused of “not acting in the best interests” of the ailing SOE. The Denel board of directors was copied on the letter.