JOHANNESBURG - State-owned arms manufacturer, Denel Group, on Monday defended its decision to appoint Daniel du Toit as group chief executive, saying that it was committed to transformation.
This comes after the Liberated Metalworkers Union of South Africa (Limusa) last week rejected Du Toit's appointment, saying that the minister of public enterprises must implement employment equity recommendations.
The department of public enterprises last month announced Du Toit as the new group chief executive after Cabinet approved the appointment. He assumed duty on Monday.
Monhla Hlahla, Denel board chairperson, said that du Toit was appointed after he emerged as a top candidate following a thorough, transparent and rigorous recruitment process that searched internally and externally for the most suitable candidate.
Hlahla said the board was confident that Du Toit was the right person to lead Denel in the next phase to revitalise the organisation and to restore confidence amongst investors, clients, partners and suppliers. She said that Du Toit will be part of a broader team that will not only be diverse but will be truly representative of South Africa's demographics.
"The decision to appoint Mr Du Toit was made with our eyes open to the racial and gender imbalances in our country and in the knowledge that we are accountable to the country on the decisions we make as a board," Hlahla said.
"For Denel, transformation of our workforce profile is a non-negotiable legislative imperative that is implemented in a responsible manner across the group."
Limusa had accused Denel of ignoring the findings of the Hoefyster Employment Equity Compliance Assessment (HEECA) report by employing a white male as the group chief executive. The HEECA had called for an immediate stop to the appointment and employment of white males in important positions at Denel.
But Hlahla said Denel has made measurable progress in transforming what was previously a white male dominated company. She said Denel was now a diverse organisation where black employees make up 61 percent of the workforce, while female representation has grown to 27 percent.
"We have no doubt about Mr Du Toit's commitment to the transformation of the company and we are confident that he will lead the process to turn Denel into a company that reflects our aspirations to be a truly representative and admired South African company," she added.
"The new Group CEO is tasked with streamlining the executive team and appointing a diverse team with the right skills set to take the company forward."
The Black Management Forum is reportedly challenging Denel on the appointment of Du Toit. Hlahla said the Denel board is open to constructive engagement with any stakeholder on how Denel can be restored to a position of pride as a national asset of the South African state.
African News Agency (ANA)