The Democratic Alliance (DA) will apply for access to the preliminary investigation report into a Denel contract to supply armoured vehicles to Chad to ensure the findings are not buried.
“It is in the best interest of the South African public that findings of the investigation into this cash strapped State-owned Enterprise (SOE) be made public,” said the party’s shadow public enterprises minister Natasha Mazzone. The party has applied, in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA), for the preliminary report.
“This will ensure any of the damning findings that pinpoint several senior officials and politicians are not buried,” she said after it became public knowledge Denel failed to deliver on a R230 million contract to supply 40 Casspir armoured vehicles to Chad.
According to weekend reports the contract was negotiated with the North African country by Denel’s former chief executive (Zwelakhe Ntshepe) and former chief financial officer (Odwa Mhlwana). Denel audit committee chairman Talib Sadik is quoted as saying the Chad contract was an onerous one, loss-making with unrealistic timelines. The former Denel executives were found to have “acted with high levels of negligence”.
Mazzone said Denel’s failure to deliver any vehicles to Chad “despite having been paid a R100 million deposit almost two years ago” also impaired South Africa’s relations with its northern continental neighbour and fellow African Union member.
“Chad has since cancelled the contract and demanded its R100 million deposit back from cash-strapped Denel.
“Denel is another in a long line of SOEs crippled by years of mismanagement and corruption. A massive amount of money has been wasted on SOEs and South Africa is getting very little in return.
“Through the PAIA application, the DA is making it clear to embattled Denel we will not compromise our commitment for transparency and accountability,” she said adding “no protection should be given to corrupt cadres and officials”.
In July a Denel statement said corrective steps including civil action against former Denel executives to recover monies would be started. The Denel board commissioned forensic investigations into allegations of corruption and state capture. Statements have been handed to the SA Police Service and the SIU (Special Investigations Unit) to support of investigations into alleged criminal matters. Internal disciplinary hearings have been concluded and others are ongoing as the defence and technology conglomerate continues its turnaround strategy.