Necsa needs a road map

BOARD, CHAIR­PER­SON AND CEO Old board and chief ex­ec­u­tive failed to ex­e­cute man­date in ‘sat­is­fac­tory man­ner’ – Radebe.

The Citizen (KZN) - - NEWS - Rorisang Kgosana – ror­[email protected]­ti­zen.co.za

Newly ap­pointed chair­per­son of the Nu­clear En­ergy Cor­po­ra­tion of South Africa (Necsa) board, Rob Adam, has been hailed as “highly cred­i­ble” and the new board mem­bers “sub­stan­tive”, but an im­me­di­ate plan of ac­tion should be de­tailed on how to turn the cor­po­ra­tion around.

Min­is­ter of En­ergy Jeff Radebe re­moved and re­placed the en­tire board of the state nu­clear en­ergy en­tity, as well as sus­pend­ing the firm’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, an­nounc­ing a new board and in­terim CEO yes­ter­day in Pre­to­ria.

He said the board and its CEO had failed to ex­e­cute the gov­ern­ment firm’s statu­tory man­date in a “sat­is­fac­tory and pru­dent man­ner”, while some for­mer board mem­bers had shown bla­tant “acts of de­fi­ance”.

Necsa is re­spon­si­ble for ex­port­ing ra­dioiso­topes that are used in medicines, such as can­cer treat­ments, while pro­mot­ing research and de­vel­op­ment in nu­clear en­ergy.

The for­mer board was, how­ever, re­spon­si­ble for the halt in pro­duc­tion of ra­dioiso­topes at the firm’s sub­sidiary, NTP.

Af­ter be­ing re­quested to fur­nish rea­sons as to why the board should not be re­lieved from their po­si­tions, Radebe said the min­istry was not con­vinced by the mem­bers’ re­sponses and re­solved to dis­solve the en­tire board.

“In a meet­ing with the Necsa board, both my­self and the Deputy Min­is­ter Them­bisile Ma­jola em­phat­i­cally ex­pressed our con­cerns about the board’s fail­ure in its statu­tory du­ties to ad­dress the very se­ri­ous trans­gres­sions and fail­ures raised above.”

For­mer Necsa ex­ec­u­tive and group ex­ec­u­tive in the nu­clear sec­tor Rob Adam was ap­pointed as chair of the board, an ap­point­ment that was wel­comed by in­dus­try ex­perts.

Des Muller, di­rec­tor of NuEn­ergy De­vel­op­ments, said the new board was “sub­stan­tive” and stan­dard pro­ce­dures were fol­lowed be­fore the ap­point­ments.

The sud­den re­moval would not, how­ever, have an ef­fect on the firm or the nu­clear in­dus­try, he told The Ci­ti­zen.

“No ef­fect at all. The re­moval is some­thing that hap­pens in gov­ern­ment and the new board in place is sub­stan­tive.

“I am not con­cerned. Necsa has been fine in the re­cent months, ex­cept the pe­riod where it shut down for safety rea­sons but [the is­sues] were re­solved and the plant was back in ser­vice.”

But Radebe should give a de­tailed plan if he is to fix the firm, and clear in­struc­tions should be given to the new board, de­spite the new chair­per­son be­ing highly cred­i­ble, DA Shadow Min­is­ter of En­ergy Gwen Ng­wenya told The Ci­ti­zen.

“The board and the min­istry need to de­ter­mine what they are look­ing to fix as their first point of ac­tion. We need de­tails of the im­me­di­ate plan of ac­tion to turn the sit­u­a­tion at Necsa around.

“The new chair­per­son is a highly cred­i­ble in­di­vid­ual and we look for­ward to work­ing with him,” Ng­wenya said.

Radebe has made an about-turn on South Africa’s com­mit­ment to a nu­clear en­ergy deal with Rus­sia since be­ing ap­pointed as en­ergy min­is­ter by Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa, say­ing the deal was too ex­pen­sive.

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