A major security breach at state-owned arms manufacturer Denel may have led to the theft of highly sensitive and classified weapon technology information.
This is according to City Press, which reported that President Cyril Ramaphosa has authorized the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) to investigate the matter.
The report stated that the intellectual property related to Denel’s missiles and weapon technology was stolen by current and former employees and given to arms company Saudi Arabian Military Industries (Sami).
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Many former Denel engineers with experience in designing and manufacturing missiles are now working at Sami.
An army general told City Press that what happened at Denel is industrial espionage and amounts to treason.
This report comes at a time when Denel finds itself in such financial trouble that it is struggling to pay salaries and service its debt.
The reason for the mess at the company, Denel CEO Daniel du Toit said, is the hangover of state capture and mismanagement.
Du Toit said there is a direct link between state capture involving the Gupta family and the company’s financial predicament.
State capture is, however, not the only reason. “We have to be objective in our assessment – there is also an element of mismanagement and poor efficiencies,” he said.
“The effect of state capture is enormous on the organization, which is broken and paralyzed as a consequence of state capture,” he said.
Du Toit said the Denel board and management are taking action with the support of their audit firms, with legal action against those implicated in corrupt dealings.
He said they are trying to recover some of the money linked to state capture, but that it is not as significant as with some of the other state-owned enterprises.
Denel has a wide variety of missiles, including air-to-air missiles, air-defense missiles, and anti-armor missiles.
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