19 December 2018

South Africa: Nehawu Opposes the Privatisation of the NTP Radiosotopes

press release

We would like to make it categorically clear that if these allegations are true we stand opposed to the privatisation of one of the few profit making SOC with R1, 3 billion revenue, bringing foreign revenue and paying millions in tax, which also has a serious potential to grow fivefold from where it is currently.

At this stage we will not venture to comment on the merits or demerits of the disbandment of the previous board nor on the suspension of the Group CEO because the matter is currently before the courts. However, the manner and haste with which this was done gives credence to these allegations. We see no sense whatsoever in disbanding the Board and thus creating a governance crisis when the board was left with three months of its term.

We note with shock and find it totally unacceptable that in this day and age Minister Radebe finds it necessary to recycle old white males to the helm of Necsa, i.e. Mr Rob Adam as Board Chairperson and Mr Don Robertson as Acting CEO, as if the country is short of capable black executives.

Our members have not forgotten that it was under Mr Rob Adam as CEO that Necsa experienced serious financial problems which led to the declaration of section 189 to retrench 250 workers which was later stopped through the intervention of the Ministry and under the leadership of the suspended CEO, Mr Phumzile Tshelane.

Mr Adam's media statement as covered in the Engineering News on the 6th December 2018, before the first new board meeting, singling out Nuclear Manufacturing division and Pelchem as areas of concerns is a confirmation that he has an agenda to finish what he could not in 2012 and has in effect declared section 189 through the media in violation of the LRA and Necsa labour relations procedures.

It is an insult to many capable black executives that Mr Don Robertson, a sick pensioner, who failed to transform NTP as Managing Director should be brought back as some saviour.

From where we stand both Rob and Don belong to the past and have very little or nothing to contribute in transforming the Necsa Group. Any attempt to reverse the transformation gains made in the past six years will be seriously resisted.

On the 30th October 2018, NEHAWU in the energy cluster of Tshwane Region marched to the Ministry of Energy to hand over a memorandum of demands on numerous nuclear energy and technology matters, and giving the Minister 30 days in which to respond. To date he has failed dismally to respond, a sign of serious contempt towards workers. NEHAWU will in response to this arrogance march to the presidency early in 2019 to escalate our issues.

NEHAWU in principle support a well thought out transition from high carbon to low carbon energy sources to reduce carbon emissions taking into account socio-economic imperatives. Thus, we call for a properly articulated and managed Just Energy Transition that puts in the foreground jobs and the creation of more thereof, security of supply of which the state is the guarantor and in which it must play an active role in the renewable generation space. We reject the current passive role assigned to the public utility, Eskom, largely reduced to a price-taker through financially onerous and unsustainable power purchase agreements (PPAs) with independent power producers (IPPs). The current renewable energy ownership pattern is fundamentally flawed and must be relooked. Such a transition must be in the interest of our people and not used as an opportunity to enrich the elite at the expense of workers and communities through IPPs.

The national leadership will visit Necsa to throw its support behind the workers and announce a program of action on Necsa.

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