Denel sitting without a chairman


The State-owned defence and technology conglomerate Denel has been without a chairman since the start of March.

That was when reports surfaced that Daniel Mantsha had resigned. It has now been confirmed to defenceWeb by Pam Malinda, Denel Group Manager: Communication and Public Affairs.

She said: “We (Denel) are not aware of any appointment (to replace him) at this stage,” adding the Ministry of Public Enterprises was “responsible for matters of the Denel board”.

Pravin Gordhan, named Minister of Public Enterprises by president Cyril Ramaphosa in the Cabinet reshuffle following his election as president of the ruling ANC and subsequently replacing Jacob Zuma, has yet to make any public announcement about Denel.

The defence and technology group is one of six state-owned companies Gordhan is responsible for. The others are Transnet, SA Express, Safcol, Alexkor and embattled Eskom. SAA was in the Public Enterprises stable under the oversight of former minister Lynne Brown, but was handed to National Treasury when many of its financial problems became public knowledge some two years ago.

Malinda said the February Denel board meeting saw discussions around restructuring but would not elaborate.
“The option of a proposed restructuring of the business was discussed by the Board at its meeting in February. However, consultations with the Shareholder (government, in the form of the Department of Public Enterprises) are still underway so there is nothing to be communicated at this point,” she said.

The defence industry was late last month rocked by the resignation of Stephan Burger, Denel Land Systems (DLS) chief executive. He spent 36 years at Denel in various positions and at DLS was the go-to man for the SA Army’s new infantry fighting vehicle, the Badger.

Denel has, since the expulsion of Riaz Saloojee as CEO in 2016, experienced financial and personnel difficulties and due to a poorly managed cash crisis has struggled to pay its creditors and employees. defenceWeb understands that March salaries have been paid at Denel, but that job cuts may be imminent as the state owned conglomerate trims its 4 000 strong workforce.