Denel welcomes new board, looks forward to new growth trajectory


Denel executives welcome and look forward to working with the new interim board, appointed by the minister of public enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, yesterday to provide oversight and help the company find both short-term and longer term sustainable solutions for the current challenges the Denel Group is faced with.

“We especially welcome the minister’s confirmation that Denel is a strategic national asset and is vital for national security, technology and economic development,” says Zwelakhe Ntshepe, group CEO of Denel.

“Management and employees of Denel firmly believe in the future of the company. We design and manufacture world-class products in the defence and technology environments. We have well-established footholds in key international markets.”

The past three years have seen the South African government-owned defence technology giant battling both reputational and, lately, severe liquidity challenges that in December 2017 even threatened the payment of staff salaries.

The new interim board consists of members with an impressive range of skills across various disciplines, including finance, law, leadership, business and some with a defence background.

Gordhan expressed his confidence in the interim board to steer Denel onto a new path, and urged the directors to move with speed on the areas of the business that need urgent attention.

Ntshepe welcomed the minister’s approach to consult with key stakeholders of the company, with the view towards strengthening business relationships with key stakeholders of the company and the department.

“Denel is a vital contributor to the safety and security of South Africa and all its citizens, and we have the potential to be a major catalyst for the future growth of the technology and advanced manufacturing sectors in the country,” says Ntshepe.

New members of the interim board of directors are:

1. Monhla Hlahla, chairperson of the board
Hlahla is a former CEO of ACSA. She has been non-executive at Exxaro Resources. She has spent the larger part of her career in the infrastructure sector, starting in 1994 at the Development Bank of Southern Africa, which later seconded her to the municipal infrastructure investment unit. She was then appointed as non-executive chair of Johannesburg Water utility, and later as MD of Airports Company South Africa.

2. Zoli Kunene
He founded Kunene Bros Holdings and serves as its CEO. Has served on the board of Denel SOC previously. Has served as the chairman of Saab Grintek. From 1980 to 1984, he served as legal unit co-ordinator for the Council of Unions of SA, the forerunner of COSATU.

3. Prof Tshilidzi Marwala
Prof Marwala was appointed as the University of Johannesburg’s second vice-chancellor and principal in 2017. He has been an independent non-executive director of EOH Holdings since 22 November 2006. He served as director of SITA. He serves as director of the State Information Technology Agency, Statistics South Africa, the National Advisory Council of Innovation, and the South African Council of Natural Scientific Professions.

4. General TT Matanzima
General Matanzima is a career soldier and has served in various capacities in the SANDF, including chief of joint operations and chief of HR. He was awarded with the Commander Class Medal and the Southern Cross Medal.

5. Gloria Serobe
Gloria Serobe is founding member and executive director of Wiphold. She serves as CEO of Wipcapital and serves on several boards, including Sasol Mining, Hans Merensky and Old Mutual Emerging Markets. Serobe has been the chairman of Adcorp Holdings since 11 July 2017.

6. Talib Sadiq
Mahomed Talib Sadik, CA (SA) has been CFO and executive director of Basil Read since 1 October 2016. He served as the group FD of Times Media, De Beers Group Services and Denel SOC. He is a chartered accountant. He holds a BCom from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

7. Sue Rabkin
A former special advisor to the minister of defence, Sue Rabkin has a distinguished, long-standing history as a political activist.

8. Dr Sibusiso Sibisi
Dr Sibusiso Patrick Sibisi is head of Wits Business School (WBS) from January 2018. He served as the president and CEO of The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research since 2002.

9. Cheryl Carolus
Carolus is chairperson of Peotona Holdings, an investment holding company. She previously served as chairperson of SAA, SANParks and CEO of SATOUR. She is a former South African high commissioner to London.

10. Nonzukiso Siyotula
Nonzukiso Siyotula has been independent non-executive director at Growthpoint Properties since 1 January 2018. Siyotula served as the CEO of Thebe Investment Corporation from 2014 to 2016. She has held various senior positions at Barclays Africa Group, Old Mutual Retail Mass, Royal Bafokeng Holdings and South African Breweries, including CFO for Wealth Management and COO for Africa Finance. Siyotula has professional experience in areas such as finance, corporate governance, strategy, restructuring, investment management, business development, sales and distribution.

11. Thami Magazi
Magazi has been acting chief of Medium Business at Business Connexion Group since 2016. He holds a BSc in business administration and master’s degree in business administration. He holds certificates from the Disney Institute Leadership Excellence Program, GIBS Executive Leadership Development Program, University of North Carolina Executive Development Program and Strategic Account Management Program.

12. Martin Mnisi
Mnisi is a qualified lawyer and director at MNS – Mncedisi Ndlovu & Sedumedi. He is a former lecturer of business law and mercantile law at the University of Johannesburg. Mnisi was part of the advisory panel at the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

The minister said the immediate priorities for the new interim board will be:

* To restore sound corporate governance;
* To review the effectiveness of the management team;
* To review major contracts;
* To review the company’s financial position with the view to creating sustainability; and
* To consult all stakeholders.