Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe is said to have threatened the remaining members of the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (Necsa) board with “resistance” if the treated him like a “small boy.”
According to a report published by City Press after having heard a recording of the aforementioned threats, Mantashe went on a tirade last week in a meeting with Necsa executives and senior officials at the department of energy.
The day after the meeting, the four remaining members of the SOE’s board resigned with immediate effect. The publication states that the quartet remained on in an effort to turn around the fate of the struggling SOE after their colleagues quit.
In their joint resignation letter, the four said they felt undermined by Mantashe despite the hard work they were putting in since having their 2018 firing by then energy minister Jeff Radebe overturned by the Pretoria High Court last August.
Over the last few months, Necsa has reportedly been trying to obtain Mantashe’s approval to use funds allocated to decommissioning and decontamination to cover salaries and operational expenses. They have also been trying to get a cash injection to the SOE out of him.
They once again brought this up during last week’s meeting which prompted Mantashe to demand a solid long-term plan regarding the turn-around of the SOE from them. At the end of the meeting, Mantashe reportedly referenced a bible verse that is believed to be in reference to Necsa attempts to go over his head and contact President Cyril Ramaphosa directly.
The board also felt undermined by Mantashe’s repeated insistence that the four remaining members did not constitute a real board and that they (his department) were in the process of putting together a new one.