Former CEO to head new Necsa board

DA wants to know whether former chief and former chair were re­moved over deals with Rus­sian com­pany

Business Day - - Front Page - Linda En­sor Par­lia­men­tary Writer en­[email protected]­

The gov­ern­ment has re­placed the board of the state-owned South African Nu­clear En­ergy Cor­po­ra­tion (Necsa), with the util­ity’s former CEO Rob Adam tak­ing over as chair.

The gov­ern­ment has re­placed the board of the state-owned SA Nu­clear En­ergy Cor­po­ra­tion (Necsa), with the util­ity’s former CEO, Rob Adam, the new chair.

Adam re­places former chair Kelvin Kemm as head of the or­gan­i­sa­tion, which is tasked with un­der­tak­ing and pro­mot­ing re­search and devel­op­ment in the field of nu­clear en­ergy and ra­di­a­tion sciences and tech­nol­ogy. Necsa is also in­volved in the pro­duc­tion of med­i­cal nu­clear ra­dioiso­topes and as­so­ci­ated ser­vices, and man­ages and op­er­ates the Vaalputs Na­tional Ra­dioac­tive Waste Dis­posal Fa­cil­ity in the North­ern Cape.

Adam, who was Necsa CEO for six years be­tween 2006 and 2012, said on Thurs­day after his ap­point­ment that al­though it was still early days, the key is­sues to be dealt with in the cor­po­ra­tion were its fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity and fu­ture strat­egy in the light of the gov­ern­ment’s pol­icy de­ci­sion to de­lay the new nu­clear build pro­gramme to the mid-2030s.

The new mem­bers of the board are Ra­matsemela Masango, Aadil Pa­tel, Bishen Singh, Pu­lane Kingston, Matl­hodi Ng­wenya, Jab­u­lani Ndlovu and Pu­lane Molok­wane.

The board would also have to ap­point an in­terim CEO to re­place Phumzile Tshe­lane, who has been sus­pended.

DA en­ergy spokesper­son Gwen Ng­wenya said it ap­peared Tshe­lane and Kemm were re­moved from their po­si­tions by en­ergy min­is­ter Jeff Radebe.

“While there have been numer­ous gover­nance chal­lenges at Necsa, South Africans need to know on what grounds the CEO and chair have been re­moved from their po­si­tions,” Ng­wenya said.

“Fur­ther­more, we are con­cerned that their re­moval might not be based on the valid grounds out­lined in sec­tions 17 and 22 of the Nu­clear En­ergy Act (46 of 1999). In par­tic­u­lar, the min­is­ter needs to an­swer whether there is a deal with a for­eign com­pany in­volv­ing Necsa/NTP Ra­dioiso­topes, from which the min­is­ter stands to fi­nan­cially ben­e­fit — or from which he has al­ready ben­e­fited,” Ng­wenya said.

Daily Mav­er­ick pub­lished an in­de­pen­dent re­port ear­lier in De­cem­ber show­ing that Radebe had asked the Necsa board to pro­vide rea­sons why it should not be re­moved. “It ap­pears that the is­sues raised by the min­is­ter with the Necsa board con­cern mat­ters of gover­nance, en­gage­ments with Rus­sian nu­clear in­ter­ests and pos­si­ble unau­tho­rised re­search re­ac­tor deals with Rus­sia’s Rosatom, over­seas trips by the Necsa chair, unau­tho­rised me­dia re­leases, ar­ti­cles and/or com­mu­ni­ca­tions, and ap­par­ent con­flicts of in­ter­est,” the Daily Mav­er­ick ar­ti­cle said.

Rob Adam

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