A mechanic works on an Oryx helicopter engine in a workshop hangar on the Denel Aviation site in Boksburg. Picture: KEVIN SUTHERLAND
A mechanic works on an Oryx helicopter engine in a workshop hangar on the Denel Aviation site in Boksburg. Picture: KEVIN SUTHERLAND

State-owned arms manufacturer Denel, which recorded a loss of nearly R2bn in the past financial year, has appointed Daniel Du Toit, a former MD at Saab Medav Technologies in Germany as its new CEO.

Du Toit, who starts in January, “will be able to build on the turnaround strategy for Denel that was introduced earlier this year”, according to a statement from the department of public enterprises.

He replaces Zwelakhe Ntshepe‚ a 20-year company veteran who quit in May just six months after getting the top job. Ntshepe left a month after the publication of claims that Denel had given former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo’s son a R1.1m bursary to become a pilot. The scholarships for for Oarabile Mahumapelo and two others have since been terminated.

Denel, one of the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) that were mired in allegations of corruption and state capture, sunk into such a deep financial crisis that in December 2017 it needed a government guarantee to to enable it to pay salaries and suppliers.

“The reputational damage Denel suffered over the past two years had led to a loss of confidence from stakeholders, including the banking and investment community, who, in turn, were unwilling to extend credit facilities to the company,” Denel chair Monhla Hlahla said in the statement. “The turnaround is meant to arrest the current decline in the company’s performance.” 

Du Toit has also worked for Altech Media, according to the public enterprises department.