NEWS
09/04/2018 17:00 SAST | Updated 10/04/2018 05:27 SAST

Gordhan Appoints New Interim Board For Embattled Denel

Pravin Gordhan announced that the new chairperson of the board will be Monhla Hlahla, the former CEO of Acsa.

Bloomberg via Getty Images
Pravin Gordhan, the Minister of Public Enterprises, arrives on stage to speak during the Future of South Africa Conference in Cape Town. Wednesday, March 7, 2017.

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan has announced the appointment of a new interim board for Denel, after meeting with the state-owned defence company.

Speaking in Irene, Gordhan said Denel had a "good reputation in the past, [but] sadly that reputation has been lost".

"The changing of the board is the first step we are taking as governance," he said.

Gordhan announced that the new chairperson of the board will be Monhla Hlahla, the former CEO of Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) and a non-executive director of various South African companies.

No members of the previous board were retained.

Hlahla said the board would, in the next weeks, be immersed in trying to understand the financial health of the group and would start by scrutinising its 2016/2017 financial results.

The new board

The new board would also include: Zoli Kunene, Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, General Themba Matanzima, Gloria Serobe, Talib Sadik, Sue Rabkin, Dr Sibusiso Sibisi, Cheryl Carolus, Nonzukiso Siyotula, Thami Magazi and Martin Mnisi.

The public enterprises minister said that Denel "faces the threat of collapse unless far-reaching decisions are taken urgently".

Gordhan stated that he had begun a consultation process with key stakeholders to establish a way forward for the entity. "I met with organised labour and a variety of Denel's suppliers to hear their suggestions on how to correct what is wrong," he said.

While the company has had a positive run in the past, this "positive storyline" had "deteriorated significantly because of bad decisions".

The rotation of Denel's board is the second major shake-up at a state-owned enterprise after Eskom's board was switched out in January

It was not unexpected. In early March, Daniel Mantsha, the former chairperson of Denel's board, stepped down. In February, former finance minister Malusi Gigaba had said the group's board was the next up for review as a state-owned enterprise.

Meanwhile in January, the CEO of Denel, Zwelakhe Ntshepe, told Parliament's oversight committee on public enterprises that the state defence company has a liquidity crisis and has never made "serious money". "The issue of liquidity at Denel is a serious matter; it didn't start now," he said.