NEWS & ANALYSIS

Parliament must hold Minister Mantashe to account – Kevin Mileham

DA MP says Mantashe has failed to address the grave financial crises at NECSA

Parliament must hold Minister Mantashe to account

21 January 2020

The Democratic Alliance (DA) believes that Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, must be held accountable for his failure to address the grave financial crises at the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (NECSA), and we will therefore write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Mr. SahluleleLuzipo, to request that he call Mantashe to appear before the committee urgently.

Reports note that acting NECSA CEO, Ayanda Myoli, announced at a staff meeting yesterday that NECSA will not be able to pay salaries in full for January 2020 and/or would be unable to pay deductions such as pensions and medical aid contributions. These reports are indicative of the extreme financial problems faced by this state-owned entity and reveals that NECSA is in deep distress.

The NECSA board had warned Minister Mantashe of this looming crisis. They had also made the Portfolio Committee of Mineral Resources and Energy aware of the defunct state of the entity during the BRRR process in Parliament.

Sadly, their input was characteristically ignored by Minister Mantashe, and as a result, the board resigned and the entity now finds itself in a dire situation.

Minister Mantashe must be held accountable for his failure to address the financial crisis at NECSA in a timeous manner, and he must be held responsible for his unwillingness to appoint new board members to fill the vacant positions.

Nearly a week after the remaining board members resigned, there is still no substantive leadership at NECSA, which remains without a Chairperson in sight. Without stable, permanent and reliable leadership, NECSA will continue to sail into further difficulties.

Furthermore, the Minister must accept responsibility for his lack of action in restoring the entity to financial stability. This is why the DA will immediately write to the Chairperson Luzipo to request that the committee summon Minister Mantashe to appear before it, to provide a comprehensive report on actions to be taken in the immediate short term to address the severely debilitating problems at NECSA.

South Africa relies on NECSA to provide a safe, reliable and competent nuclear industry. Unless there is capable management and leadership, and a willingness to act decisively (and if necessary, take the hard decisions), NECSA is doomed to become another failed SOE, circling the drain while Minister Mantashe ignores all calls for intervention and help.

Issued byKevin Mileham,DA Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, 21 January 2020