‘Necsa im­passe far from over’

Radebe con­fi­dent that new board mem­bers will bring nec­es­sary sta­bil­ity to the nu­clear en­ergy cor­po­ra­tion

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NATION - NONI MOKATI

EN­ERGY Min­is­ter Jeff Radebe has warned that the im­passe be­tween his min­istry and some mem­bers of the now-dis­solved South African Nu­clear En­ergy Cor­po­ra­tion (Necsa) board is far from over.

His com­ments come amid damn­ing rev­e­la­tions against the old Necsa board which in­clude a se­ries of gov­er­nance is­sues such as fi­nan­cial mis­man­age­ment, re­mu­ner­a­tion ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties, unau­tho­rised in­ter­na­tional travel and unau­tho­rised deal­ings with for­eign com­pa­nies.

Ac­cord­ing to Radebe, the sta­te­owned pub­lic com­pany ran into a se­ries of prob­lems un­der the lead­er­ship of ex-chair­man Kelvin Kemm and chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Phumzile Tshe­lane, who has been placed on pre­cau­tion­ary sus­pen­sion.

Radebe said de­spite en­gag­ing the board a num­ber of times over prob­lems at the or­gan­i­sa­tion, con­sis­tent “in­ep­ti­tude and de­lib­er­ate acts of de­fi­ance by some board mem­bers had re­sulted in var­i­ous set­backs and losses” en­coun­tered by the state.

This, he said, in­cluded the non-pro­duc­tion of the ra­dioiso­topes re­quired for the treat­ment of can­cer. Pro­duc­tion of these was halted af­ter the shut down of the NTP Ra­dioiso­topes plant be­cause of safety con­cerns.

Radebe also re­vealed that the board had gone against his wishes and fa­cil­i­tated deals be­tween a for­eign com­pany and gov­ern­ment de­spite an agree­ment with an­other com­pany al­ready in ex­is­tence.

“A mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing was signed with Rosatom against my in­struc­tion that they should not do so. They (board) pur­ported to sign this MOU pre­cisely to do with the is­sue of ra­dioiso­topes of which we al­ready have a part­ner­ship with an Aus­tralian com­pany which hap­pened some few years ago.

“We can’t

now

in

bring an­other com­pany that would be in con­flict with the IP that was singed with the Aus­tralian com­pany,” he said.

“Ev­ery­body is frus­trated in this thing. This thing doesn’t end here. We are go­ing to get to the bot­tom of all these al­le­ga­tions.

“Last month, the ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary of the com­pre­hen­sive nu­clear test and treaty or­gan­i­sa­tion came to South Africa to Pelind­aba on an ap­point­ment and he was re­fused to en­ter. So what kind of a board and CEO can be­have in such a man­ner?”

Radebe said a new eight-mem­ber board has since been ap­pointed as ap­proved by Cab­i­net. It will be headed by Rob Adam as chair­per­son and he will be joined by Ra­matsemela Masango, Aadil Pa­tel, Bishen Singh, Pu­lane Kingston, Matl­hodi Ng­wenya, Jab­u­lani Ndlovu and Elsie Molok­wane.

The min­is­ter also said they were con­fi­dent that these new board mem­bers would bring the kind of lead­er­ship and sta­bil­ity and in­sight nec­es­sary to Necsa.

Kemm’s lawyer Dou­glas Molepo yes­ter­day said his client would be launch­ing an ur­gent in­ter­dict to set the ap­point­ment of the new board aside as well as the Tshe­lane’s sus­pen­sion. “The min­is­ter vi­o­lated the rules of nat­u­ral jus­tice. He did not give them (board) the right to be heard be­fore the de­ci­sion was made. He did not ap­ply his mind to the mat­ter.”

He said doc­u­ments were sent to the board at 1.30pm on Mon­day and at 2pm they were dis­missed. “That goes to show that he did not ap­ply his mind on the mat­ter,” he said.

Deputy Min­is­ter Them­bisile Ma­jola said: “Dr Kemm has said a whole lot of things out there. He doesn’t say those is­sues in meet­ings. For me what is re­ally sad and un­for­tu­nate is that ev­ery­thing he says and knows are bla­tantly un­true but he con­tin­ues to say them. He says a lot of things be­cause he knows they are bla­tantly un­true. What was crit­i­cal is that NTP must func­tion whether they think it was a good idea or not.”

Radebe and Ma­jola said they would also visit the Pelind­aba Nu­clear Research Cen­tre in the North­west to re­as­sure staff that op­er­a­tions at the com­pany would imp­prove at the helm of the new board. |

MIN­IS­TER Jeff Radebe said the SA Nu­clear En­ergy Cor­po­ra­tion ran into a se­ries of gov­er­nance is­sues.

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