Trade union Solidarity warned on Friday that its members at State-owned defence industrial group Denel were ready to start protesting at the company. This follows the response by Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown to a recent urgent letter to her from Solidarity about, in the union’s words, “serious allegations of financial mismanagement and misrepresentations” made against the Denel group CEO, group CFO and board chairperson.
The Minister’s reply, also in a letter, was that the union should continue to hold talks with the three officials. She had “delivered a blow to the workers at Denel by refusing to view in a serious light the numerous allegations” against the three senior Denel officials, the union stated in its press release.
Solidarity sent a follow-up letter to Minister Brown on Thursday afternoon, rejecting her suggestion as irresponsible. “The employees who divulged this information to Solidarity will be put in an extremely vulnerable position if the implicated officials are not suspended at least until an investigation has been carried out,” affirmed union deputy general secretary Deon Reyneke.
“Solidarity therefore urged the Minister to amend her vague solutions to the obvious problems at Denel and to use the authority of her office to address these problems,” he added. Brown should, the union asserted, “refrain from making indifferent comments on the obvious management problems at the company”.
According to Solidarity, up to 700 Denel employees could lose their jobs as a result of the mismanagement of Denel. The union pointed out that the National Treasury’s Budget documents had noted that it would have to become involved with Denel because of its management problems.