The Labour Court this week reserved judgement in the contempt case brought against Denel by trade unions.
According to the Florida, West Rand, headquartered trade union UASA (United Association of SA), it instituted contempt of court proceedings against Denel directors after the State-owned weapons manufacturer did not act on a 4 August 2020 court order to honour all outstanding contractual and statutory obligations of UASA members in its employ for May, June and July 2020.
“UASA is of the considered view Denel board members sat idle and are now relying on liquidity challenges as the sole basis of their defence to the contempt of court application.
“When the case was postponed in December to afford the Denel board a further opportunity to file affidavits in response, UASA’s legal counsel argued, despite the second chance, Denel directors failed to disclose the true financial position of the State-owned weapons manufacturer.
“UASA’s legal counsel further argued the directors failed to place sufficient credible evidence before the court to make a finding that the company was financially unable to comply with the August court order and that board members stood indifferent to compliance and failed to comply with the order,” UASA’s statement on the latest round of legal sparring read.
The judgement, according to UASA, will be emailed to UASA attorneys as soon as Judge Andre van Niekerk considered all submissions.
Trade unions UASA and Solidarity are fighting Denel over unpaid or underpaid salaries and pension fund contributions.
Ahead of the court appearance on 28 January, Helgard Cronjé, deputy general secretary at Solidarity said, “The court order that Denel must pay all salaries in arrears was obtained in August. Denel did not comply with the court order and is still withholding some payments. Poor performance and mismanagement are the order of the day, and ordinary workers at Denel are suffering because of this.”
According to Solidarity, Denel continues to drag its feet and undermine the authority of the court by not complying with the order. “We feel sorry for Denel workers still affected. We will continue the fight so they will receivre what is due to them,” Cronjé said.