By Neelam Rahim
There is a relief for several thousands of employees of beleaguered arms manufacturer Denel after the company paid approximately R300 million worth of outstanding salaries. The money was only settled after trade union Solidarity obtained a court order to seize Denel’s assets.
In discussion with Radio Islam International is Deputy Secretary General of Solidarity, Helgard Cronje.
According to Helgard, the suffering Denel faced under state capture severely impacted the cash flow. The first hard lockdown in March 2022 has affected the operation to date.
He says we cannot sit by idly and watch employees pay for State Capture as this happened. As an organisation, we could not stand for that as employees have a right to the constitutional to their salaries.
The suffering has caused some employees to contemplate suicide, so he added somebody had to stand up for them.
Helgard further tells Radio Islam that Denel had referred the matter to court, where they requested access from the court for surplus funds from the Denel medical benefits trust. Which is a benefit for employees after they retire, basically given to them now from which Denel has received around R900-million from the trust.
He says Denel is behind with pension and PAYE and is currently negotiating with SARS to agree on a payment plan to pay back the PAYE. Unsure about the payment arrangement regarding the assistance, Helgard said that would be discussed soon.
According to Helgard, from the R900 million, Denel will be able to fund some of their projects and generate some of their cash.
He says that employees became the face of state capture within Denel, which needs to be changed. A criminal complaint has already been laid in 2018, which does not seem likely to be prosecuted by the national prosecuting authority, which is under consideration for private prosecution. The Zondo Commission made a further criminal complaint, and we will keep an eye on those criminal cases.
Listen to the full interview on Radio Islam’s podcast below.