New Denel chief executive no stranger to defence technology

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Over three years after Denel’s last permanent chief executive exited the State-owned defence and technology conglomerate, the position has been filled by Tsepo Monaheng.

Exactly when he will move into the chief executive’s suite at Denel’s Irene, Centurion corporate offices was not made known by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan when he made the appointment public yesterday (Friday, 8 December). He was one of 67 applicants for the position.

Monaheng is currently Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the SA Forestry Company (SAFCOL), also one of Gordhan’s responsibilities, and will exit its Pretoria East offices on conclusion of his duties there.

The Denel appointment can be viewed as a type of coming home for him as Monaheng previously headed Denel Dynamics, the advanced systems technology specialist operation in the Denel stable. Dynamics’ core business, as per the Denel Group website, includes tactical missiles, precision guided weapons, unmanned aerial vehicle systems and space solutions.

His appointment, according to Gordhan, “underscores our commitment as government to put Denel on a firm strategic path as we reposition the company to expand” and build on the progress made since recapitalisation. Denel, he added, is one of South Africa’s strategic SOEs (State-owned Enterprises) and “we wish to see it reclaim its position as a provider of critical defence capabilities to our country”.

A Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) statement has it the Denel board “needs to focus on building an executive team of professional, skilled, and capable people who will drive Denel to become operationally efficient and financially sustainable”.

Monaheng’s appointment comes less than two months after two senior Democratic Alliance public representatives – Kobus Marais (defence and military veterans shadow minister) and Ghaleb Cachalia (then public enterprises shadow minister) – told defenceWeb “priority number one” for Denel should be finding and appointing a full-time chief executive.