Former Minister Jeff Radebe fired the Necsa board in December 2018, citing serious governance deficiencies and a lack of effective oversight over the company and its subsidiaries. Photo: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG – The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), South Africa’s largest public-sector union, has called for the sacking of the board of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) after the North Gauteng High Court found on Friday that the decision by former energy minister Jeff Radebe to axe the previous board was unlawful.

The High Court in Pretoria ruled in favour of former board chairperson Kelvin Kemm, former chief executive Phumzile Tshelane and the former chairperson of the audit and compliance sub-committee, Pam Bosman, when it declared that Radebe’s actions were unlawful and set aside his decision to axe the board in December 2018.

“We are making a call to the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy to sack the current Necsa board and institute a full-blown investigation on the intellectual property of Necsa, which has found its way into private hands without any benefit to Necsa and whether there are no deliberate acts of sabotage taking place in the organisation,” Nehawu said on Friday.

The union called on Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe to interrogate the role played by his officials at his department in engineering this unlawful conduct.

Radebe axed the board in December 2018, citing serious governance deficiencies and a lack of effective oversight over the company and its subsidiaries. 

He also dissolved the board following what he said was a series of acts of defiance placing Necsa subsidiary NTP Radioisotopes, the international supplier of nuclear medicine, at risk of losing its global market share. 

Radebe appointed a new board, which included Rob Adam as the new chairperson, and Don Robertson as interim chief executive.

“While I oversaw the financial affairs of Necsa, we won an award from the Auditor-General for excellence in our accounting practise and for submitting totally clean books. 

"I was very offended when Jeff Radebe made accusations against me of unprofessional conduct and poor practice. He was wrong. The court decision has vindicated me,” Bosman said.

Nehawu said the judgment vindicated its long-held position that Radebe had been nothing “but a disaster” to the nuclear industry in general and Necsa in particular. 

“His interventions at Necsa were not in the interest of the organisation and South Africa at large, but appears more to advance his own agenda and those of a clique pursuing self-interest,” Nehawu said.