The deadline to submit affidavits against court papers seeking business rescue for Denel expired yesterday (Monday, 13 September) with the under-fire State-owned company (SOC) taking legal advice.
At the same time the Irene-headquartered defence and technology conglomerate said it is “not aware of the organisation called the Denel Employees Association (DEA)”.
The grouping last week submitted legal documentation to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria including, among others, an affidavit by a Denel employee asking for business rescue practitioners to prevent Denel sliding even deeper into the financial mire.
An unattributable, but verified, Denel statement yesterday notes “there are no reasonable grounds to put Denel into business rescue at this stage. We should allow the relevant stakeholders to work on funding solutions”.
It continues: “As an SOC with the South African government as the sole shareholder, Denel is doing everything in its power to be able to pay all the outstanding portions of salaries”.
The DEA is reportedly a voluntary grouping of current and former Denel employees. Included in its ranks are serving employees on the receiving end of short-paid salaries, late and non-payment of salaries with the same applicable to employee benefits such as medical and pension. In some cases the salary issue has been ongoing since May last year.
Denel owes employees over R600 million and suppliers some R900 million.
Before the public arrival of the DEA, trade unions UASA (United Association of SA), NEHAWU (National Education Health and Allied Workers Union) and Solidarity, were in the forefront on engagements, including court appearances, to secure outstanding salary an employee benefit payments for members at Denel.
Apart from facing challenges on behalf of employees, a call was made in June by Saab Grintek for liquidation of Denel. This was apparently spurred by Denel not settling outstanding debtors. Indications subsequent to the filing of legal papers by the Centurion-based defence industry company engagements seeking “an amicable outcome” were initiated.