Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

LIVE FEED: State Capture Inquiry - November 13, 2020

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published Nov 13, 2020

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Johannesburg – The Zondo commission will continue to hear Denel-related evidence on Friday from former Denel board chairperson Daniel Mantsha.

On Thursday, interim Denel chief executive Talib Sadik revealed the state-owned aerospace and military technology company was going after several current and former senior managers implicated in wrongdoing that almost collapsed the entity.

Sadik told the commission a number of current and former executives implicated in unlawful activity had been referred to the Hawks and would also face civil action to recover Denel’s losses.

According to Sadik, Denel had laid charges under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act against the executives and senior managers identified in investigations by Ngidi Business Advisory, Dentons and BDO.

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He said the Denel board was monitoring the criminal charges against the former executives and there had been meetings held between the National Prosecuting Authority and the Hawks on this matter.

”Denel is co-operating with the Hawks. We are fully co-operating with them, there have been ongoing inquiries,” he assured Justice Zondo.

Sadik said Denel was also looking at all the deals signed with Gupta-owned VR Laser and had engaged defence experts ITI to look into this issue.

Denel, Sadik explained, wanted to ascertain whether it paid fair, market-related fees for the lucrative contracts.

”It will form the basis for civil action against VR Laser,” he said.

Sadik promised that once the draft reports were finalised, Denel would now proceed with the next stage.

”We are addressing the issues to the extent that we can and we acted by reporting them to the police,” he said.

Sadik also said Denel had instructed a senior counsel to review the reports and advise its board accordingly with the view of recovering any loss caused to the entity by the implicated officials.

He said Denel had also suffered reputational damage especially with the banks that funded some of its largest transactions.

However, Sadik explained the Ngidi investigation had run into trouble after Denel approached the company but it instead indicated it no longer wanted to complete the assignment.

He said the Ngidi report refers to annexures but they are not attached to it.

Sadik also addressed concerns raised by former Denel Land Systems (DLS) chief executive Stephan Burger, who complained about interviews he (Sadik) did with eNCA and the SABC.

Burger said Sadik had told the two channels that Denel was pursuing civil and criminal charges against individuals named in the reports.

But Burger said he considered these allegations to be defamatory and part of a popular, irresponsible narrative that Denel was involved in the state capture project.

He said he was the only individual named by Sadik in one of the interviews and that former Denel chief executive Riaz Saloojee was not named.

In his response, Sadik said: “It’s really very unfortunate, really sad to hear these points being made by a senior executive in the company.”

He said there was blatant disregard for not only company policies but the broader legislative environment at Denel.

”When one is in a leadership position, they must take responsibility. State capture made a significant contribution to the issues we are facing,” Sadik said.

He said the creation of Denel Asia, in which the entity partnered with VR Laser, was illegal as its partner had no experience in Asia particularly in the Indian market.

Meanwhile, Cosatu affiliate, the Liberated Metalworkers Union of SA (Limusa), on Thursday condemned DLS’s move to retrench 179 of its 438 employees and demanded that current and former executives implicated in state capture face the music following evidence presented at the commission.

”We are also calling on law enforcement agencies to act on the ongoing revelations at the Zondo commission with intention to recover the millions of rands and ultimately arrest the perpetrators,” the union said in a statement.

Political Bureau

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