Publication: Business Report Date: 2005-04-19 Reporter: Roy Cokayne

Denel's Zungu Rejects Racial Witch-Hunt Talk



Business Report




Roy Cokayne

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The idea of a racially based witch-hunt against white employees in Denel was "completely misplaced", Sandile Zungu, the chairman of the defence parastatal, said yesterday.

But he emphasised that Denel would not protect corrupt stakeholders "be they employees, technical advisers or whoever, because we are very much aware that destroys the fibre of the organisation".

He said in an exclusive interview with Business Report: "You can't build an organisation through indifference and tolerance to corruption and corrupt practices."

Zungu added that skilled engineers and other skilled professionals had dedicated their lives to Denel and it would not betray these people or their futures because of corruption.

The interview follows public enterprises minister Alec Erwin's announcement on Friday that Denel chief executive Victor Moche was to stand down at the end of next month to be replaced by Shaun Liebenberg, the chief executive of listed defence and telecommunications manufacturer Grintek.

Zungu said some of the Denel employees who had been suspended were "trying to fan the flames and hopefully use the state of despair [in Denel] as leverage in negotiating their position".

He conceded that there might have been inefficiencies in terms of how Denel dealt with disciplinary hearings but sensed that Liebenberg would as a matter of urgency want to get on top of the "real issues" in the company.

Zungu added that transformation in Denel had to occur and praised the achievements of Moche in this regard.

"Denel is a classical example of an organisation where white fears and black aspirations collide." Zungu said Moche had taken over Denel when it was "completely untransformed" and corrupt practices had become almost entrenched at the core of the organisation.

"The general consensus of all concerned is that he [Moche] has done an excellent job in effecting transformation."

With acknowledgements to Roy Cokayne and the Business Report.