Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, appointed seven new board members of the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (NECSA), just a week after previous board members resigned en masse.
The former board members claimed that the reason for their resignation is lack of support from Mantashe.
The new Board members who will serve a three-year term are:
1. David Nicholls - Chairperson
2. Senamile Masango
3. Joseph Shayi
4. Aadilah Chowan
5. Dr Gregory Jerome Davids
6. Mashukudu James Maboa
7. Dr Namane Magau
Mantashe said these seven board members “possess a wide range of skills in areas including nuclear regulation, nuclear analytical and calibration services, nuclear science, engineering, finance, law and corporate governance.”
The Minister also appointed Elsie Monale as a representative of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy to the Board.
“The Department has commenced with a process to appoint the official representative of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to the Board, as required by the Nuclear Energy Act,” said Mantashe in a statement.
He added that the newly appointed board members were vetted and a “comprehensive background check” was done on each one of them.
The Democratic Alliance (DA), however, “cautiously” welcomed the new board members and said it hoped they would “provide stability to the state-owned entity”.
“We ask that they pick up where the previous board left off, rather than try to reinvent the wheel - particularly with regards to the entity's turnaround strategy,” said the DA’s Shadow Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Kevin Mileham.
The party’s doubts were evident in its call on Parliament’s Portfolio Committee of Mineral Resources and Energy to “interrogate these new appointments to ensure that they are not another example of cadre deployment and that the best people have been appointed to address the myriad of financial and other problems at NECSA and its subsidiaries”.
But, there is one appointment that the DA is happy about… that of Nicholls, a former Eskom Chief Nuclear Officer, who now serves as NECSA board chairperson.
Mileham said: “Nicholls brings years of experience in the nuclear industry and we trust that he will at all times act impartially and in the best interests of South Africa’s larger nuclear industry and the approved Integrated Resource Plan”.