Troubled state-owned enterprises (SOEs) should not be new to Monhla Hlahla as chair of Denel and she now has an additional responsibility as one of 10 members of the Presidential State-Owned Enterprises Council (PSEC).
Hlahla chaired the defence and technology conglomerate for the past two years. During this time a new chief executive, Danie du Toit, was named and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan used Denel as an illustration of just how bad state capture was in the Zuma era.
Under her leadership a turnaround was initiated and is in implementation with restructuring of business units. Denel has at least three times in the past nine months found itself in financial straits as far as employee wages and salaries are concerned. Financial assistance from government, trade unions and the banking sector saw to it all employees were paid in full.
Against this background, she is well-qualified to contribute to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s PSEC with its aim of “supporting government to reposition SOEs as effective instruments of economic transformation and development” announced this week.
In a statement, the Presidency indicated Ramaphosa will chair the PSEC with “ministers responsible for SOEs and eminent South Africans with proven leadership and strategic capabilities” assisting him.
Apart from Hlahla the other nine PSEC councillors are Joel Netshitenzhe, Executive Director and Board Vice-Chair of the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA); Vusi Khanyile, Thebe Investments chair; Michael Sachs, Wits University adjunct professor; Marion Marole, non-executive director MTN Group and Development Bank of SA; Bajabulile Tshabalala, vice president finance and Chief Financial Officer at African Development Bank; Sipho Nkosi, Sanlam director; Kandimathie Ramon, Anglo Gold Ashanti Chief Financial Officer; Ian Kirk, Sanlam Group Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director; Nazmeera Moola, economist and head of investment at Ninety One plc.