More Denel ‘rogue intelligence’ claims as e-mail charge added against Ntsihlele

State arms manufacturing company Denel is piling up charges against suspended Denel Dynamics CEO Sello Ntsihlele, the latest relating to an e-mail he allegedly sent to his colleagues.

Denel alleged that Ntsihlele’s conduct was in violation of the conditions for his temporary lay-off pending disciplinary action instituted last December.

But the e-mail has striking similarities to another sent out last August to the staff of the Department of Public Enterprises, which purported to come from suspended director-general Kgathatso Tlhakudi.

The e-mail allegedly sent by Tlhakudi was then suspected by his allies to be part of a “rogue intelligence operation” to sniff out any possible allies or moles who may have been sharing, or amenable to sharing internal information with him during his suspension.

It appears the modus operandi may have been to lure unsuspecting officials who may be sympathetic to the purported sender to offer their help and thereafter, possibly, place them under the spotlight.

Denel filed 18 charges against Ntsihlele in December last year, and has since consolidated gross insubordination charges into one, and added the e-mail charge.

According to Ntshihlele’s sympathisers, these charges are punishment for his refusal to implement “illegal instructions” to enable the sale of Denel’s valuable assets like intellectual property for a song.

Denel spokesperson Pam Malinda said on Friday the company “respects the confidentiality of internal disciplinary pro-cesses and does not discuss them in public”.

Both Tlhakudi and Ntsihlele had a fallout with Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan at the time of their respective suspensions. Tlhakudi had accused Gordhan of disposing of the state-owned assets in SAA in a “fraudulent and corrupt manner”. Gordhan denied the allegations and threatened to sue Tlhakudi.

Ntsihlele also accused Gordhan of intimidation tactics, including one incident where the minister could be heard in a recording during a Denel meeting lashing that Ntsihlele “must leave the company and allow us to run the business and cannot continue to draw a salary and continue to behave like this”.

One of the transactions Ntsihlele disagreed with was the sale of Denel’s Irene campus, valued at R600-million, for only R189-million. Last Wednesday, Denel issued a memo to staff at Irene about vacating the premises on April 1 so that the new tenant could move in. The lucky tenant stands to score R411-million as a jackpot from the deal.

If found guilty, Ntsihlele faces dismissal. During his hearing, he will have to demonstrate that his conduct was informed by the obligation to prevent taxpayers’ money from being used to sponsor cronies of powerful figures with an interest in the sale of public assets under a blanket restructuring plan.

Last August, Ntsihlele filed four employee grievances, including one against Gordhan, who had verbally attacked him. But the company didn’t address his concerns.

Follow @SundayWorldZA on Twitter and @sundayworldza on Instagram, or like our Facebook Page, Sunday World, by clicking here for the latest breaking news in South Africa. To Subscribe to Sunday World, click here

Latest News