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Rise and fall of Denel under scrutiny at state capture inquiry

Image: Supplied by the Denel Group

The current board at the embattled state armaments company Denel is "having to deal with the repercussions of the era that has just passed".

This according to public enterprises deputy director general Kgathatso Tlhakudi who, while testifying at the state capture inquiry on Monday, described the rise and fall of the state-owned company.

"From 1999, Denel was showing some recovery. Prior to 1994, the turnover was very strong, informed by our country spending a lot of money on arms to protect the regime. In the new dispensation, there was no need to spend that kind of money on arms," he told the commission.

"In the mid 2000s, Denel started to restructure itself. It now started to become a little more focused. The business started to recover ... was making profits. Around 2010 things started to look up … By 2016, Denel hit a R8.2bn turnover. The momentum had carried through from the hard work of the board that had come before. In 2017, things started to unravel.

"In the first year of the new board being in control of this entity, they did not meet their corporate plan and the following year, the revenues almost halved. The current board that we have at Denel is still having to deal with the repercussions of the era that has just passed."

Earlier, Tlhakudi described how former public enterprises minister Lynne Brown deviated from the norm to appoint a controversial new board at Denel in 2015.

He said he was expected to rubber-stamp a list of prospective board members that arrived from Brown's ministry which included the names of state capture-implicated Thamsanqa Msomi and Daniel Mantsha.

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