Vuyokazi Xaxa who was announced as the group company secretary and legal officer. Photo: Supplied

The state arms manufacturer Denel, yesterday said, it has appointed Odwa Mhlwana as chief financial officer. Vuyokazi Xaxa was also announced as the group company secretary and legal officer. 

“The new additions to our executive team are critical to create stability in Denel and will contribute to our transformation into a self-sustaining state-owned company,” said its acting chief executive Zwelakhe Ntshepe.

He pointed out that both Mhlwana and Xaxa have held acting positions at Denel in the past and have high-level experience in the defence and public sector. Mhlwana was the group finance director for BAE Land Systems, which was taken over by Denel in 2014. 

The new leadership would be pivotal in implementing Denel’s group strategy approved by the board in 2016. “They will help us to achieve our strategic objectives which are the building blocks of a ‘One Denel’ of the future.” 

Xaxa was appointed as acting group secretary last year. Denel has been in a legal stand-off with the National Treasury over its attempts to forge ahead with a strategic partnership with a company called VR Laser Asia, headed by Salim Essa, a close associate of the Gupta family. Its business plan showed that the company hoped to make R2bn over 10 years from its partnership with Denel in the Asian market.

The Treasury refused to give the green light, saying the Hong Kong-based company was technically insolvent. Denel suspended Fikile Mhlontlo and Elizabeth Africa as chief financial officer and group secretary respectively in late 2015, along with chief executive Riaz Saloojee a few months before the company announced its plans for a joint venture with VR Laser Asia. This week Parliament’s public enterprises portfolio committee said it would extend its investigation into allegations of state capture at Eskom to also cover Transnet and Denel.