Denel responds to racism accusation

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In the wake of racism accusations against it, state-owned defence group Denel says it is committed to transformation.

The Black Management Forum (FMF) indicated it was going to take up the new Denel chief executive’s appointment with Public Enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan appears to be the spur for a statement issued today by Denel.

Denel group chair Monhla Hlahla maintains Danie du Toit was appointed as chief executive to replace Zwelakhe Ntshepe “after a thorough, transparent and rigorous recruitment process that searched internally and externally for the most suitable candidate”.

“The new chief executive will be part of a broader, diverse team that will be truly representative of our country’s demographics.

“The Denel board is confident Du Toit is the right person to lead Denel in the next phase to revitalise the organisation and restore confidence among investors, clients, partners and suppliers. The decision to appoint him was made with eyes open to racial and gender imbalances in South Africa and in the knowledge we are accountable to the country for decisions we make as a board,” Hlahla said in a statement.

“Du Toit is a distinguished industry leader with wide ranging experience in the defence, technology and aerospace environments, predominantly in the private sector. During his five-year tenure at Denel he will build on the turnaround strategy introduced in 2018 and lead efforts to restore Denel’s position as a global technology leader and one of the top defence companies in the southern hemisphere.”

The Denel chair is adamant that transformation of the Denel workforce profile is non-negotiable.

“Denel has made measurable progress in transforming a previously white male dominated company. Today it is a diverse organisation where black employees make up 61% of the workforce and female representation has grown to 27%. During 2018, 84% of new appointments were from African, Coloured and Indian race groups with more than 50% of new appointees female,” she said in the statement.