PRETORIA, There is no government decision on the possible selling of a stake in South Africa's State-owned arms manufacturer Denel to optimise its financial position and there is no option presented for consideration on this matter as yet, says Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula,

Commenting on the matter, following media reports attributed to a reply by Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown to a Parliamentary question, the defence minister said in a statement here Thursday: As correctly indicated in the response by Minister Lynne Brown, there is no government decision on the matter and no option presented for consideration yet.

"In an event that such a consideration or decision is made, Government will have to carefully determine which parts of the Denel should be sold, through which model and to whom.

The Minister said both the Defence Department and Armscor, the department's arms procurement agency, were continuing to engage with Denel to ensure that the country's strategic and sovereign capabilities were sustained and that any solution to the current challenges did not have a negative impact on the operational readiness of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

It is for this reason that we believe that any decision in this regard will have to involve due consultation with all stakeholders, especially the SANDF, she added

The Minister went on to express her concern regarding the media speculation, saying they could send a wrong message to the arms industry as well as the financial markets during sensitive negotiations on Denel's financial situation. It is important that we conclude the current discussions, and that any decision that government will make in this regard, will be an outcome of this important consultation, she said.

Denel has recently been faced with financial challenges which have given rise to fears it would not be able to pay the salaries of its employees.


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