Saloojee back at Denel


Former Denel Chief Executive Riaz Saloojee, summarily dismissed along with two other senior executives at the height of State Capture machinations at the defence and technology conglomerate, is back.

An internal memo from “The Desk of the Group CEO” marked “confidential – for internal use only” was anonymously forwarded to defenceWeb.

Titled “A warm welcome to Riaz Saloojee seconded as Chief Restructuring Officer,” the memo signed off by Interim Group Chief Executive Officer William Hlakoane has it the former chief executive was seconded from SAA Technical (SAAT) on 24 May.

Hlakoane writes Saloojee has “intimate knowledge of the company and is highly respected by the critical stakeholders – locally and abroad. During his tenure Denel experienced double digit growth and a positive bottom line year-on-year”.

His secondment from SAAT, where he has been interim chief executive since September last year, is highlighted as “critical” by the man currently occupying the chief executive office suite in Centurion.

Saloojee will be integral to fast tracking implementation of the “approved Denel five year strategy” and ensure the troubled State-owned entity is restored as “as a strategic national asset.”

The memo gives no indication of the duration of Saloojee’s stay at the conglomerate he once headed to an order book in excess of R40 billion.

Saloojee, along with chief financial officer Fikile Mhlonto and company secretary, Elizabeth Africa, were summarily suspended and left in 2015. This, according to one of the Zondo Commission Reports, was “one of the first decisions” taken by the then newly captured Denel board led by then new chair, Daniel Mantshe.

An excerpt from then Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s report on Denel reads: “From the second half of the new board’s first year in office and the whole of their second year Denel was without these exceptional performers, namely the 2011 board and the group chief executive. The result in the following year tells it all. In media reports Denel is now associated with liquidation and business rescue”.