The Board of Directors and Management of Denel SOC says it is deeply saddened by the tragic events that resulted in the loss of life of eight employees and an unconfirmed number of injuries at Rheinmetall Denel Munitions (RDM) premises in Somerset West on Monday afternoon.
“We were shocked to learn from the leadership of RDM about the tragic accident where an explosion occurred during operations and destroyed the entire building as well as the immediate surrounding walls.
“It is heart-breaking that colleagues lost their lives in such tragic circumstances. Our prayers are with the families during this difficult time,” said Chairperson of the Denel Board, Monhla Hlahla.
RDM management have confirmed that following the explosion at its propellant operations building, which led to the unfortunate fatalities, the affected area has been cordoned off and declared unsafe.
The company has taken all the necessary precautions to enable an investigation into the accident to commence.
“Rheinmetall is our strategic partner, and although as Denel we hold the minority share, and we essentially run two independent companies with different operations, management and board structures, however, we have worked closely with them, so we are equally pained by this heart-breaking incident.
“Our deepest condolences go to the families of our departed colleagues. Flags are flying at half-mast at all Denel sites in support of Rheinmetall, the employees and the families of those who lost their lives,” Hlahla said.
Denel SOC is a 49% strategic partner to Rheinmetall, a company of German origin. The two companies are run independently of each other with different boards and management structures.
Rheinmetall Waffe Munition (RWM) in Germany (RWM) and Denel SOC Ltd concluded an equity partnership in 2007 wherein a majority interest in Denel’s Munition business was sold to RWM with a 51% (RWM) and 49% (Denel) equity shareholding. The company became known as Rheinmetall Denel Munitions (RDM).
RDM specializes in the design, development and manufacture of large- and medium-caliber ammunition and is a world leader in the field of artillery, mortar and infantry systems and plant engineering.
Its business focus is in Asia, the Middle East, South America, South Africa, other African countries and Europe via Rheinmetall AG.
Its product portfolio includes large-calibre ammunition (76mm to 155mm), artillery projectiles, propellant, charges, pyrotechnic carriers, mortar bombs, 40mm grenades and various missile sub-systems.
The rationale for the partnership was to ensure commercial viability of the Denel SOC business unit through gaining access to markets and capability to provide industrial leadership and invest in plant renewal and technology.
The set objectives have been largely achieved as the former Denel division was transformed into the profitable world class business that it is today. RDM currently exports around 85% of its revenue. – SAnews.gov.za