The NECSA debacle: yet another failed SOE
The recent resignation of the rest of the current board at the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (NECSA) is cause for serious concern, as this development highlights once again the poor governance arising from political interference and lack of leadership by the Department of Energy.
The situation of "musical chairs" of board members at NECSA (and other SOEs) over the past number of years, largely due to alleged political meddling, has become untenable. "This kind of instability can push us to the precipice of further downgrades," says Dr Heinrich Volmink, OUTA’s Executive Director of Public Governance. “There appears to be a critical lack of political leadership and support when it comes to ensuring that the successful NTP within NECSA remains a viable entity and operates independently of political interference.” NTP Radioisotopes is a subsidiary of NECSA.
“NECSA plays an important role in the nuclear sector of SA,” says Liz McDaid, OUTA’s Parliamentary Advisor. “Its role in crucial areas such as medical radioisotopes, for example, has been undermined by governance failures. This has had a negative knock-on effect on SA’s ability to play a more prominent role in medical isotope manufacturing on the international stage.”
Parliament heard of NECSA’s woes from the new board in March 2019, and again during the time of the 6th parliament. How have we reached this stage of dysfunction?
OUTA calls on the Presidency to urgently address the challenges of executive leadership within the Department of Energy. We need to see clear accountability for NECSA's failure and a plan to reshape the entity to deliver on its strengths.