National Nuclear Regulator: Why is watchdog being removed?
21 January 2022
This week's dismissal of a National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) board member, Mr Peter Becker, by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, is still having repercussions and raised the question of why the Minister decided to remove the public's watchdog?
In a letter to Becker's legal representative, Minister Mantashe informed Becker that the board chairperson had obtained a legal opinion on the issue of whether Becker's conduct amounted to conflict of interests with the council. Taking such drastic action raises suspicions about why the watchdog is being removed.
Mantashe has not provided any details about the alleged conduct, but felt that the allegations were so serious that it was best to suspend Becker pending a final decision. Becker may, however, submit written representations as to why he should not be discharged from office.
The background to Becker's appointment on 10 June 2021 and decisions that have since been made regarding the Koeberg power station raise suspicions about the possibility that this may be an attempt to cover up sensitive information.