A Denel G-6 howitzer tank. Picture: BUSINESS DAY
A Denel G-6 howitzer tank. Picture: BUSINESS DAY

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has lashed out at state arms firm Denel in its first submission to the state capture inquiry.

Outa said its submission aimed to outline how appointees under former president Jacob Zuma’s administration allegedly manipulated policies in the interests of themselves or the Gupta family.

"Outa shows how Denel moved from being a profitable company with an order book of more than R35bn in 2015 to an entity that came perilously close to handing over defence technology to the Guptas‚" Outa alleged.

"Under [former public enterprises minister] Lynne Brown’s direction‚ the Denel board was replaced in 2015 with a board that planned the capture of the entity. She approved the appointment of a new chair — lawyer Lugisani Daniel Mantsha‚ who was once disbarred then reinstated and is now Zuma’s lawyer.

"Outa believes that the board set up by Brown took decisions on Denel, which did not make commercial sense but were aimed at lining the Guptas’ pockets in a massive state heist."

The organisation’s submission builds on its 2017 report to parliament, in which it charts a timeline and evidence of how the state was allegedly captured.

Leaked e-mails from the Gupta business empire showed the family were sent confidential government correspondence relating to Denel and its operations. This came around the time the state entity chose the Gupta-owned VR Laser company as a partner in a joint venture to supply the Asian market with weapons worth billions. The deal eventually fell through.