Tag Archive | Airbus

A more confident Denel reports to Parliament

Coming right….

Riaaz SaloojeeIn a report to parliamentary portfolio committee on public enterprises, Denel’s chief executive, Riaz Saloojee, gave a clear indication that Denel’s fortunes were changing for the better as a result of a R1.85bn guarantee from government; a continued contract with Airbus to construct aircraft sections and all of this despite the cancellation of a long-standing SAAF maintenance contract due to state budget restraints.

Denel says it has been through significant restructuring processes and the result is now a more coherent situation, he said. “There were recently seven Denel boards, there is now one.”

Product line-up

Saloojee said a “sustainable profit picture was emerging in the long term “and good progress was being made on the Hoefyster a darter(armoured vehicle transporter) project, ground to air defence systems and the A-Darter air-to-air missile project was now starting, all of which represented great future possibilities.”

Vehicles for de-mining purposes play a large part in the development plans at Denel, parliamentarians were told. Saloojee said that Denel had a Malaysian contract, which was a three to five year programme and also a long term contract with the UN for de-mining, both of these with the participation of a high level of Denel personnel and staffing.

airbusIn general he said, “80% of the losses on the past were as a result of the aero structures business of Denel“but clearly there is a turnaround here after the arrangements with Airbus.”


BRICS helps

Saloojee commented on aspects regarding arrangements with the Brazilian armed forces “which were most successful” and that “helicopter maintenance with the Russians is going well”, bearing in mind that in both cases, transfer of skills to South African employees is effective.

Staffing issues were difficult, Natasha Davies for Denel’s HR division, admitted. It was difficult to retain highly skilled aero engineers and trained staff in a highly competitive industry “but the labour turnover rate is 6.7%, which is within Denel’s target range of 5% to 7%.”

Skills back up improving

Young engineers, particularly females, were being supported through various initiatives. Staff retention was improving, she said. In terms of outreach to youngsters and schools programmes, Denel had met and talked to 1200 learners from grade 8 to 12 in Gauteng and North West and 3000 books on mathematics given out to schools.

The Denel board chairperson, Zoli Kunene, said “there was light at the end of the tunnel on outreach into Africa and significant new business in the Middle East and the Africa continent had taken place.” The board of Denel was confident that “interventions of the last 12 months has placed Denel in a position to take advantage of current market opportunities”.


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