Investigation into Denel execs’ suspension due to conclude in June
Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown expects the investigation into the suspension of three senior Denel officials – chief executive Riaz Saloojee, chief financial officer Fikile Mhlontlo and group company secretary Elizabeth Africa – to be completed by the end of June, more than six months later than planned. She was speaking during a meeting of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises in Cape Town this week, saying the trio had asked for more time to give their input into the investigation around their suspension as of September last year. At the time, Brown’s office indicated she was expecting a report on the suspension within two weeks. This then slipped to 10 December, with a decision on what action to take expected in the new year. Speculation at the time of the suspensions was it had to do with Denel depleting its cash reserves with the acquisition of BAE Systems Land Systems South Africa (now renamed Denel Vehicle Systems). This was subsequently denied by Brown. It was then speculated that the suspension was to clear the way for the formation of Denel Asia, a joint venture between Denel and VR Laser, which has connections with the Gupta family. Denel Asia had apparently not been approved by either Brown or the National Treasury. Brown is also reported as has having told the meeting this week that the focus of the Denel board, appointed by her last September, would be on improving cash and working capital management as well as opening new markets through strategic partnerships.