Massive personnel losses at Denel

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In the five-year period from the 2019/20 to 2023/24 financial terms, State-owned defence and technology conglomerate Denel saw staff numbers drop by just on 60% from 3 968 to 1 655.

The nearly four thousand people employed at Denel and its various business divisions and associated companies in 2019/20 shrunk by 636 the following financial year and then by 670 in 2021/22 (to reach 2 662). Another 655 Denel staffers exited in 2022/23, bringing the human resource component of the Denel Group down to 2 007 that year. Staff complement shrunk by a further 352 in the 2023/24 financial year to 1 655.

Additionally, Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow public enterprises minister Mimmy Gondwe was told the personnel complement as of 31 March was 1 626, a further 29 less. The information was supplied by outgoing Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and Jacky Molisane, Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) Acting Director General.

She also asked the DPE hierarchy what the status and/or progress is as regards Denel disposing of non-core properties in line with its turnaround strategy.

On Denel Rheinmetall Munition (RDM) she was told Denel formally submitted a request to dispose of unspecified properties used by the munitions manufacturer. As regards another German Denel partner – Hensoldt, occupying facilities on the Denel Irene, Centurion campus – no property disposal request has reached DPE.

“Denel’s overall strategy to dispose of non-core properties, particularly those associated with sovereign and strategic capabilities as outlined in the 2015 Defence Review, is under review.

“This reconsideration is informed mainly by the uncertainties in global geopolitical and security dynamics. The Department is in consultation with the Department of Defence to find optimal mechanisms and alternative options to assist Denel in meeting its financial requirements to complete the implementation of its restructuring plan,” the reply read.