An urgent application by former Nuclear Energy Corporation SA (Necsa) executives to set aside Energy Minister Jeff Radebe’s decision to remove them from office has been removed from the court roll “but will definitely continue”, their lawyer has said.
Douglas Molepo, attorney for former Necsa chairperson Dr Kelvin Kemm, suspended chief executive Phumzile Tshelane, and former chair of the board’s audit and compliance subcommittee Pamela Bosman, said his clients’ application could not continue yesterday because the papers had become too voluminous to be heard by an urgent judge.
The application was referred to the deputy judge president of the High Court in Pretoria for the special allocation of a date and judge. The case was expected to proceed next month.
Early in December, Radebe disbanded the Necsa board, saying acts of some defiant board members had compromised the ability of the entire board to discharge its fiduciary duties. A new board has already been appointed.
Radebe accused some of the board members of unauthorised international travel, mismanagement, remuneration irregularities, being responsible for a safety violation incident in March 2018 and allegedly issuing misleading and defamatory media statements.
He blamed the board for a long shutdown in production at its subsidiary, NTP Radioisotopes, and accused them of signing a memorandum of understanding with a subsidiary of Russia’s Rosatom nuclear corporation despite explicit instructions not to do so.
The applicants have accused the minister of disbanding the board on a flawed procedure as a smokescreen for his “real agenda” to remove members who were opposing an alleged illegal deal to seek a portion of the valuable 100% Necsa-owned NTP Radioisotopes to an American company. Radebe disputed their claims.
Molepo said even though his clients’ terms of office were due to expire in the few months, their removal from office for alleged mismanagement had huge implications for their future careers as that would legally disqualify them from becoming directors of other companies.