Trade union Solidarity announced on Friday that it had served a demand on Denel to institute legal proceedings against people who caused, or who contributed to, the financial straits the State-owned defence group is currently in. The demand was served in terms of Section 165 of the Companies Act.
In the opinion of Solidarity Legal Services head Anton van der Bijl, Section 165 allows the union to demand that the company investigate irregularities and initiate legal action within 60 days of the demand being served on Denel. Solidarity had previously, in April last year, presented a file on irregularities at the group. According to the union, this resulted in the firing of a number of people at the company.
“If the alleged irregularities are not investigated, and/or if no legal action is taken because of proven irregularities, we may take legal action against the responsible persons in Denel’s stead,” he affirmed. “The time has come to hold people accountable for their wrongdoing and to bring them to book.”
Solidarity general secretary Johan Botha pointed out that recent comments by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and Denel CEO, Danie du Toit, regarding State capture at Denel and its consequences, established “compelling reason[s]” to initiate its action. The union expressed the view that the situation was unique because government officials working at State-owned companies might, in future, be held directly responsible for malpractices at these companies.