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Sat May 28 06:03:55 CAT 2016

Madonsela gets request to probe Gupta-Denel link

Sipho Masombuka | 11 February, 2016 12:54
In the letter to Madonsela‚ Solidarity contends that the transaction holds many negative consequences for the future of the company and that of its employees. File photo
Image by: THULI DLAMINI

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's office has confirmed receipt of the request to probe the controversial partnership between state arms manufacturer Denel and the Gupta family.

Her spokesperson‚ Oupa Segwale‚ said on Thursday they have received the letter from trade union Solidarity requesting that the joint venture be probed.

Solidarity's quest for Madonsela's probe stems from media reports last Friday that the controversial Gupta family‚ which has come under fire for its alleged state capture through links with President Jacob Zuma‚ have teamed up with Denel to profit from the sale of its products in the East.

Denel reportedly announced the formation of joint venture company Denel Asia last week‚ but did not identify the controversial family as shareholders by name.

The joint venture was said to have been concluded in the absence of Denel’s permanent chief executive‚ chief financial officer and company secretary‚ all three of whom are on suspension.

In the press release‚ Denel is reported to have announced that Denel Asia‚ with its headquarters in Hong Kong‚ would help Denel “find new markets for our world-class products‚ especially in the fields of artillery‚ armoured vehicles‚ missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles”.

The statement further stated that Denel Asia would “focus its marketing attention on countries such as India‚ Singapore‚ Cambodia‚ Indonesia‚ Pakistan‚ Vietnam and the Philippines who have all announced their intentions to embark on major new defence acquisitions”/

In the letter to Madonsela‚ Solidarity contends that the transaction holds many negative consequences for the future of the company and that of its employees.

Solidarity’s deputy general secretary for the professional industry‚ Johan Botha‚ said there were numerous question marks over the legitimacy of the transaction‚ especially given the Gupta family’s strong ties with Zuma‚ “as well as the fact that the transaction was concluded at a time when Denel’s chief executive and chief financial officer both had been suspended”.

He said‚ as a trade union‚ they were concerned about the impact this controversial partnership will have on Denel’s reputation‚ which he said had lately been tarnished by a number of negative events.

“We are furthermore concerned about its impact on this year’s salary negotiations and that our members will be adversely affected by it‚” Botha said.- TMG Digital/The Times

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