Fierce email exchange sheds light on Necsa board dis­missal

CityPress - - News - JUNIOUR KHU­MALO juniour.khu­[email protected]­press.co.za

Heated email ex­changes be­tween En­ergy Min­ster Jeff Radebe and the axed board of the SA Nu­clear En­ergy Cor­po­ra­tion (Necsa) have laid bare the events lead­ing up to the struc­ture’s dis­so­lu­tion.

The email exchange, which City Press has seen, in­di­cates that mat­ters came to a head be­tween last month and this month, dur­ing which time the two sides ex­changed hos­tile, ac­cusatory mes­sages be­fore Radebe fi­nally fired the board this week.

The board’s dis­so­lu­tion and the “pre­cau­tion­ary sus­pen­sion” of Necsa’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Phumzile Tshe­lane comes af­ter Radebe ac­cused the board in his emails of “gen­eral fi­nan­cial mis­man­age­ment” per­tain­ing to “unau­tho­rised in­ter­na­tional travel and re­mu­ner­a­tion ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties”.

In an email ad­dressed to board chair­per­son Rose­mary Mosia on Novem­ber 22, Radebe ex­pressed his dis­plea­sure about the “unau­tho­rised in­crease of board re­mu­ner­a­tion”. Ac­cord­ing to the Nu­clear En­ergy Act, the board ought to have been re­mu­ner­ated un­der terms and con­di­tions stip­u­lated and agreed upon by the minister.

In his email, Radebe ar­gues that the re­mu­ner­a­tion rate set for the board and ap­proved by the minister was R3 685 per board meeting and R2 483 per board com­mit­tee meeting.

How­ever, the com­pany’s 2017/18 an­nual fi­nan­cial state­ments showed that the board was re­ceiv­ing much more than that.

Radebe goes on to ac­cuse the board of “not ad­her­ing” to the depart­ment of en­ergy’s in­struc­tions and di­rec­tives, af­ter the board chal­lenged the depart­ment and Radebe of usurp­ing its pow­ers on three counts.

The boards of Necsa and its sub­sidiary, NTP Ra­dioiso­topes, were an­gry af­ter be­ing or­dered to re­in­state axed NTP manag­ing direc­tor Tina Eboka and two other ex­ec­u­tives on July 6.

Radebe in­ter­vened in what they de­scribed as “a prop­erly board au­tho­rised hu­man re­sources dis­ci­plinary process by dis­re­gard­ing the pow­ers and au­thor­ity of the NTP board and the Necsa board as share­holder”.

In a let­ter dated July 19, Radebe in­formed the Necsa board that the NTP would no longer be re­port­ing to Necsa, but to Deputy En­ergy Minister Them­bisile Ma­jola. The board ar­gues that Radebe, “by one fell swoop, man­aged to do away with com­mon law prin­ci­ples of pow­ers and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of boards, and the piv­otal sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers be­tween share­hold­ers and boards of di­rec­tors”.

Radebe was also ac­cused of try­ing to re­v­erse Necsa board ap­point­ments to the NTP as he al­legedly told the board that the pow­ers to ap­point members rested with him.

On Tues­day, Radebe sent Mosia and the board an email in­form­ing them that, af­ter some con­sid­er­a­tion, he had con­cluded that the re­la­tion­ship be­tween him and the board had “bro­ken down ir­re­triev­ably”.

He con­cluded that the board had “ren­dered it­self ex­tremely dys­func­tional and its con­tin­ued ex­is­tence was no longer ten­able, nor in the best in­ter­ests of the nu­clear in­dus­try, the depart­ment of en­ergy, the minister of en­ergy or for the Necsa group of com­pa­nies”.

Radebe then made a pub­lic an­nounce­ment of his de­ci­sion to dis­band the board on Fri­day.

In his an­nounce­ment, Radebe slammed the board as “de­fi­ant” and re­placed it with new members, in­clud­ing chair­per­son Dr Rob Adam and members Dr Ra­mat­se­lamela Masango, Aadil Pa­tel, Bishen Singh, Pu­lane Kingston, Matl­hodi Ng­wenya, Jab­u­lani Ndlovu and Dr Pu­lane Elsie Molok­wane.

En­ergy Minister Jeff Radebe

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