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SCOPA Halts DENEL Meeting Over Board’s No-Show: Accountability in Question

Denel
  • The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) suspended its meeting with DENEL due to the absence of the DENEL Board. The meeting was intended to address DENEL’s failure to table its annual report and its ongoing liquidity crisis.
  • Despite assurances from the Chairperson of DENEL that the Board would be represented at the meeting, no Board members were present. This led to the suspension of the meeting, which SCOPA viewed as a dereliction of duty by the Board.
  • SCOPA has rescheduled the meeting for 14 June 2023. If the Board fails to attend again, SCOPA will request the Speaker of the National Assembly to issue subpoenas to the DENEL Board.

In a surprising turn of events, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) has decided to suspend its scheduled meeting with DENEL due to the non-appearance of the latter’s Board. The meeting, which was set to take place today, was intended to address several pressing issues, including DENEL’s failure to table its annual report and its ongoing liquidity crisis.

SCOPA had planned to receive a comprehensive briefing from DENEL on a range of matters, including irregular, fruitless, and wasteful expenditure. The committee was also expecting an update on investigations being conducted by the Special Investigation Unit.

The committee had previously communicated with DENEL via the Department of Public Enterprises, sending a letter on 23 May 2023 to indicate that DENEL should appear before the committee today. Last week, SCOPA’s Chairperson received an undated letter from the Chairperson of DENEL, who stated that she would be abroad and thus unavailable for the meeting. However, she assured that the Board would be represented at the meeting.

As the meeting commenced this morning, the committee was informed by the Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr Obed Bapela, that no Board members were present. The absence of the Board, which is the accounting authority and the body that should brief the committee, led to the meeting’s suspension. The Board’s failure to make arrangements to appear before the committee as scheduled is seen as a dereliction of duty.

SCOPA has rescheduled the meeting with DENEL to Wednesday, 14 June 2023, where the Board is expected to attend. Should the Board fail to attend again, the committee will request the Speaker of the National Assembly to issue subpoenas to the DENEL Board on the committee’s behalf.

The soundbite of the SCOPA Chairperson, Mr Mkhuleko Hlengwa, can be accessed here.

This development underscores the importance of accountability and transparency in public enterprises. The upcoming meeting will be closely watched by stakeholders and the public alike, who are keen to see how DENEL addresses its current challenges.

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