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Denel CEO Zwelakhe Ntshepe quits as questions swirl over bursary to Supra’s son

JOHANNESBURG — Here’s how to add a black mark to your 20-year career – do something questionable for the Zuptas. This is the awkward position that Denel’s now-former CEO finds himself in. Out of the blue, Zwelakhe Ntshepe resigned with immediate effect today. The media statement below pays respect to Ntshepe for the 20 years he spent at the company. But what this statement doesn’t highlight are the allegations that now swirl around Ntshepe over Denel’s awarding of an R1m bursary to embattled North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo‘s son. Ntshepe’s resignation further comes after Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan replaced the Denel board earlier this year. – Gareth van Zyl

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Denel media statement:

The Denel Board of Directors has accepted the resignation of the group’s Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), Zwelakhe Ntshepe, with effect from today.

Mr Ntshepe has been with the company for 20 years, and was appointed into the GCEO position six months ago, following a-2-year-acting period. In his resignation letter Ntshepe cited personal reasons for leaving the company.

The Board has appointed the chief executive of Denel Aeronautics, Michael Kgobe, as the acting Group Chief Executive in the interim.

The Chairman of the Board, Ms Monhla Hlahla, says the board wishes to thank the outgoing Mr Ntshepe for the contribution he has made into the group over the years.

Ms Hlahla further wishes to assure employees, suppliers, customers and all stakeholders that the board is focused on a turnaround that will deal with the current liquidity and performance issues in the company.

Kgobe has an aeronautical engineering background and has been with the company since May 2000 growing up the management ranks and was appointed Chief Executive of Denel Aviation, the precursor to Denel Aeronautics, in 2010.

He is credited with overseeing the successful turnaround and diversification of the division and its rapid growth into being one of the best performing divisions within the Denel Group.

In September 2016, Kgobe was tasked with the consolidation of Denel Aerostructures (SOC) Ltd and Denel Aviation into a single operating division, which became what is now known as Denel Aeronautics which reported a consolidated R1.6-billion revenue in 2016/17 with a staff complement of 952 employees.

Kgobe has a Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Production & Maintenance from Toulouse, France; and successfully completed the UNISA Executive Leadership Programme and the Henley Business School Executive Development Programme.

The Board welcomes Mr Kgobe into the interim role and looks forward to working with him on a successful outcome for Denel.

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