OUTA welcomes Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan’s replacement of the Denel board and promise to hold wrongdoers accountable and “follow the money”. The new board must still be approved by the Cabinet.
“At last decisive action is taking place, after the country begged the previous Minister, Lynn Brown, to appoint competent, dedicated and incorruptible directors at the SOEs,” says Rudie Heyneke, OUTA Portfolio Manager for Transport.
“The new Denel board follows the appointment of a new Eskom board in January 2018 and shows that the Executive is busy with a clean-up operation at SOEs.
“We look forward to seeing the same decisive action at other SOEs that were captured and have been used as vehicles to syphon off state funds like SAA, Transnet and PRASA. Instead of being drivers of the economy and helping creating employment, under the shadow of state capture and the Guptas these entities were a drain on our economy and created a crisis that will take many years to eradicate.”
OUTA wants the boards which presided over corruption and failure at SOEs removed, replaced with trustworthy boards, with competent and technically sound individuals.
We hope that the new Denel board will review the business processes, focus areas and the key individuals in the organisation. This organisation may need some major surgery after the effects of the Guptas are exposed and analysed.
Under Minister Brown and the outgoing board, Denel’s debt was a staggering R3.265 billion by the end of the 2016/17 financial year and, in December, it needed an emergency government loan guarantee of R580 million to pay its 4 000 employees and suppliers.
In September, five of the 10 outgoing board members resigned. On 2 March, that board’s chairman, Daniel Mantsha, resigned days before he was due to meet Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Mantsha’s resignation coincided with the change of guard in the Presidency and the Public Enterprises Ministry.
“If he thought this will bring him respite, we have some bad news: he will not escape justice. OUTA will ensure that he has his day in court, next to people such as Lynn Brown and her director general Richard Seleke,” says Heyneke.
OUTA provided former Minister Brown with evidence of Mantsha’s misdeeds, corruption and involvement with the Gupta family, but she preferred to turn a blind eye and not act. OUTA laid a complaint at the Law Society of the Northern Provinces against Mantsha for unethical and unprofessional behaviour, which is being investigated.
OUTA laid charges of corruption against Mantsha on 30 August 2017. OUTA is in contact with the Hawks and we believe this case is making progress.
OUTA calls on the new Denel board to investigate the activities of the old guard at Denel, including:
“It is sad that people entrusted to safeguard state assets actively worked to destroy them. We can only hope that their departure does not equate to evading prosecution,” says Heyneke.
Denel had a reputation as a leader in the defence industry but lost its lustre when individuals in key positions were “captured” and chose to serve their corruptors rather than our country. OUTA hopes much of this wrongdoing will be uncovered in the state capture inquiry.
“We wish the new Board all the best with their important task of turning Denel around,” says Heyneke.
OUTA is a proudly South African non-profit civil action organisation, comprising of and supported by people who are passionate about holding government accountable and improving the prosperity of South Africa.