Denel CEO Danie du Toit’s resignation comes as no surprise. The reason is obvious; finding money to pay staff has dominated his tenure at the state-owned enterprise (SOE) and revealed how unstable the once-profitable entity, which public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan hoped could be turned around, had become.
At least Du Toit is realistic and honourable enough to know when the game is up and, unlike his political head, won’t play Russian roulette with taxpayers’ money under the guise of saving jobs, when his real motive is the survival of the tripartite alliance.
Du Toit’s is the umpteenth early resignation at an SOE, most of which fall under Gordhan. This trend started at Eskom with Phakamani Hadebe’s sudden resignation about a year ago, and it will not be the last. Now that Gordhan and his business rescue practitioners have run out of taxpayers’ money to bankroll their “development state” of cadre deployment, there are still options for funding, such as the lucrative pension fund pot, as well as the banks.
They are armed with (new) state guarantees and loaded voting rights to ensure that, unlike contingency creditors with actual skin in the game, the banks emerge as victors from business rescue creditors’ meetings, as we saw happen with SAA a few days ago. We’ve entered the era of the acting CEO — Philip Saunders being the most recent appointee at SAA — and now Denel is joining the queue.
Du Toit worked at 20% of the going rate for CEOs, along with other managers at Denel. Perhaps it is time for the entire SA cabinet, including the president, who express such keenness for the continuation of SOEs to facilitate a development state, to do the same regarding their incomes.
Louise Cook,Kalk Bay
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