Necsa chairperson bows out

Rob Adam, the chairperson of the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (Necsa) has resigned from his position six months after being appointed, according to a Moneyweb report.

Adam, who replaced Dr Kelvin Kemm as chairperson at the insistence of former energy minister Jeff Radebe, resigned on Thursday saying his “full time work as MD of the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory means that I am unable to give the Necsa role the attention it deserves.”

Adam served as Necsa chief executive from 2006 until 2012. Necsa is responsible for conducting and promoting research and development in the field of nuclear energy, radiation sciences and technology. The organisation also manages and operates the Vaalputs National Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility in the Northern Cape.

According to Moneyweb, there are people in the company who believe that governance issues presented in an internal document are behind Adam’s resignation.

The document reportedly reveals that Necsa’s auditors, Ernst & Young, were improperly appointed and that the appointment of an acting chief executive is in contravention of the Nuclear Energy Act since only Necsa employees can assume this position.


The document also details that the turnaround strategy to lay off 400 workers was submitted to the department of energy (now the department of mineral resources and energy) without Necsa’s executive committee being consulted and in violation of Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act. This section of the Act says that workers and unions must be consulted if any retrenchments are considered.

The resignation has been welcomed by unions which considered Adam’s appointment as irregular and illegal. Unions also saw Adam as being at the forefront of the plans to lay off workers.

At the beginning of June, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union released a statement saying it had learned about the planned retrenchments, blaming Adam for the job losses.

“We are disgusted with his continued anti-working class attitude because the language and agenda of retrenchments is what seems to characterise Dr Adam’s management style. We feel validated to hold this attitude because he left Necsa in financial tatters in 2012 with 250 employees served with retrenchment notices,” the statement read.

Radebe removed Necsa’s board in December 2018 after “continued ineptitude and deliberate acts of defiance” which caused various setbacks and losses at the organisation,” he said at the time. Adam was brought in to head the new board that was appointed.

Three former directors who were suspended from the previous board — Kemm, former chief executive Phumzile Tshelane and director Pamela Bosman — are currently challenging Radebe’s decision in court.

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Mashadi Kekana
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