Trade union Solidarity announced on Friday that financially-embattled State-owned defence industrial group Denel had just paid it R4-million. The money is to cover the salary arrears of union members employed by Denel Dynamics and Denel Land Systems.
“The payment of the salary money to Solidarity is a major victory for Solidarity and its members,” highlighted union CE Dr Dirk Hermann. “Their salaries have been looted for more than a year while the state institution refused to fulfil its responsibilities. However, Solidarity refused to accept such laxity from the state and Denel and applied constant pressure in order to force Denel to comply with the court order that was made last year.”
In particular, the union obtained a court order in March allowing it to seize some of Denel’s assets. Solidarity had arranged for these assets to be auctioned off on Friday. At that point, the company came up with the money, obviating the need for the auction.
“Solidarity has taken a stand, not only against Denel’s failure, but against corruption and the looting of tax money,” he asserted. “This major blow against corruption is only the first of many. We are fed up with a government that provides shelter to looters and does not take action against offenders. Our tax money is being misused and innocent employees at government agencies are suffering with us because of it. Enough is enough.”
The R4-million payout only covers the salary arrears for the period May 2020 to July 2020, because that was the period specified in the court order, which was issued on August 4, 2020. However, Solidarity has again taken Denel to court, regarding the salary arrears of every member of the union who worked for the company from August 2020 until today. This case will be heard in the Johannesburg Labour Court on October 7.
“Because Eskom gets away with the interrupted supply of power (load-shedding), Denel thinks it can do the same with the interrupted payment of salaries,” charged Hermann. “The state institution expects loyalty from his [sic] employees but fails to pay them. We will not allow this, and we will once again challenge Denel in court to fulfil its obligations. It is a shame that we constantly have to go to court simply to force an organisation to pay its own employees’ salaries.”