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BMF to meet Denel over white CEO, before considering legal action

Jan 15 2019 08:01
Tehillah Niselow

The Black Management Forum will first meet with state-owned arms manufacturer Denel before considering legal action over its concerns that a white male, Daniel du Toit, was recently appointed group CEO.

"Through our lawyers, we requested that we be provided with all the pertinent information that was used and taken in consideration during the recruitment and selection process of the GCEO appointment of Denel," BMF’s managing director, Thabile Wonci, said in an emailed response to questions from Fin24.

"Denel has since responded, thus requesting a meeting with the leadership of the BMF at a date still to be decided by both organisations." 

Monday was Du Toit’s first day on the job. The former managing director at SAAB Medav Technologies in Germany is replacing Zwelakhe Ntshepe, who resigned in May 2018 for personal reasons. 

The BMF works to "develop and empower black managers within organisations", according to its website. In an interview with Fin24 in December, BMF President Andile Nomlala said the organisation would legally challenge companies who appoint white people to senior leadership positions while overlooking internal black capacity.


The Liberated Metalworkers Union of South Africa, which is affiliated with Cosatu, last week criticised Du Toit’s appointment as "very irresponsible". The union also claimed that the BMF was legally challenging his appointment.

Wonci, however, said that court papers had not yet been filed. But should they not receive the information requested from Denel, BMF would approach the courts.

Denel has defended Du Toit's appointment, saying he was the most qualified candidate for the job and would be leading a diverse team that represented SA's demographics. 

In a statement on Monday, Denel’s chairperson Monhla Hlahla said the decision to appoint Du Toit, was "made with our eyes open to the racial and gender imbalances in our country and in the knowledge that we are accountable to the country on the decisions we make as a board".

In a weekend interview with City Press, meanwhile, Hlahla said the board tried to head-hunt black people for the position of CEO but were turned down by a number of them, due to reputational risks at state owned enterprises linked to alleged corruption.  

She added that out of the 16-member executive team, there are three black men, one black woman, three white men – including Du Toit – one Indian man and eight vacancies.

Denel operates in a sector where many of the executives were former army generals, according to Hlahla, and finding women to fill positions - especially black women - had been challenging

bmf  |  denel  |  state owned enterprises  |  transformation


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