‘Necsa impasse far from over’
Radebe confident that new board members will bring necessary stability to the nuclear energy corporation
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.
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.