The COVID-19 pandemic further hurt an already struggling Denel and further exacerbated its liquidity situation, the company said.
In its recently released 2019/20 annual report, former Interim Group CEO Talib Sadik noted that the hard lockdown from March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacted on production and also on the payment of salaries for the months of April to July 2020, with net salaries for the months of May to July not being fully paid to employees, and the payroll third-party statutory payments not being paid from April to July 2020.
Denel reported a R1.9 billion loss in 2019/20, compared with R1.4 billion the year before.
“Denel nonetheless responded to the pandemic by coordinating a project aimed at the local design and development of medical ventilators to be used for the treatment of COVID-19 patients under Project Sabela. Engineers from Denel Dynamics and Denel Land Systems have been working in partnership with other state-owned entities, research organisations and specialist medical technology companies in the private sector to produce these ventilators,” Sadik highlighted.
Other divisions in the Denel Group also contributed to the national response to the pandemic. This included Denel Aeronautics, which provided valuable technical support to the helicopter fleet of the South African Air Force that was deployed in all the country’s nine provinces. The Oryx transport helicopters carried critical medical and humanitarian supplies to communities on a daily basis and conducted surveillance operations.
Denel Aeronautics also carried out critical repair work on the main gearboxes of two Oryx helicopters and technical support teams were on standby around the clock to do maintenance, repairs and testing of equipment.