Denel and Solidarity face off in court again


Troubled State-owned defence and technology group Denel will be in court again today (Thursday, 28 January) where it has to answer trade union Solidarity on salary arrears and face a contempt charge.

“The court order for Denel to pay all salaries in arrears was obtained in August. Denel has not complied with the order and is withholding some payments. Poor performance and mismanagement are the order of the day with ordinary workers at Denel suffering,” was how Helgard Cronjé, Solidarity deputy general secretary described the ongoing vacillation of Denel management.

The Centurion-headquartered trade union maintains Denel is dragging its feet and attempting to undermine the court’s authority by not complying with the order.

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 early in December. The court did not rule on Solidarity’s motion, instead stating Denel has to have an opportunity to respond to the founding affidavit. At the time of publishing there was no indication from Denel whether it took up the court’s offer.

Denel employees who belong to Solidarity picketed outside the State-owned company’s Irene headquarters in Centurion ahead of the December court appearance.

Solidarity is waging an ongoing legal battle against the beleaguered defence and technology conglomerate for payment of outstanding salaries and employee benefits including pensions for more than six months. The attempt to attach assets for disposal is viewed by industry watchers as a last-ditch effort because Denel is “essentially bankrupt”.

Last week Denel made public its intention to utilise the services of an auctioneer for a three year period. He or she will be, according to, be “professional, highly competent and well-managed” and will be charged with disposal of Denel movable and immoveable assets.