File image

Cape Town - State arms manufacturer Denel has been grilled by Parliament on Wednesday over its push for a deal with a Gupta-linked company VR Laser.

Members of Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises questioned Denel’s decision to push for the deal despite the objection of the National Treasury.

Former Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan objected to the deal when he was in-charge of Treasury in 2016.

His successor, Malusi Gigaba, has also blocked the deal, while ex-Director General in the National Treasury Lungisa Fuzile said in the court papers the company was insolvent.

Gordhan, sitting in the committee on Wednesday, questioned the transaction and whether it was to the benefit of South Africa or a selected few.

Denel chairman Daniel Mantsha denied that the arms manufacturer has been captured, and said everything done by Denel was above board.

He said it had done due diligence and everything was in line with the laws of the land.

Mantsha said it was public perception that Denel has been captured.

Read also: Denel to go ahead with VR Laser venture

He said the company was in the business of getting business opportunities across the world.

But MPs from across party lines were not happy, and said they still wanted answers from Denel.

They said it was easy for Denel to sing its own praises in the absence of the National Treasury.

Denel has been locked in a legal fight with the National Treasury since 2016, when Gordhan blocked the deal.

Gigaba has done the same and called for Denel to scrap it.