Denel said on Monday that Chief Financial Officer Carmen le Grange had resigned, extending a series of resignations that has deepened a crisis at the struggling firm.
The company did not give a reason for the resignation. It depends on government bailouts and has faced liquidity problems that have been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Denel’s board chair Monhla Hlahla resigned last week, in the same week that the company announced that a handful of other members of the board of directors had departed.
“The Board wishes to thank Ms le Grange for her valuable contributions during her tenure as financial director of Denel,” Denel said in an announcement on the Johannesburg bourse on Monday.
Le Grange resigned as the Financial Director of Denel with effect from 28 February 2021 with her effective last day being 27 March 2021.
A spokesman for the Department of Public Enterprises, the main ministry responsible for Denel, told Reuters the department would comment at an appropriate time.
Denel, a pillar of the country’s once-mighty defence industry, is one of a handful of loss-making state firms South Africa is trying to return to profitability.
Although the government has approved a turnaround strategy for Denel premised on asset sales and equity partnerships, few have materialised.
According to Darren Olivier, defence expert and Director at African Defence Review, “what all the executive and board member resignations likely mean is that with both the Department of Public Enterprises and Treasury now having effectively abandoned the company it can no longer remain a going concern or pay salaries, and they’re now at risk of personal liability.
“Probably no coincidence that this is all happening before the AGM, which was already postponed from its originally scheduled date. There’s also now a very real chance of Denel being forced into outright liquidation soon.”