Union says it will fight Necsa’s alleged 400 retrenchments

Necsa this week denied any knowledge of a proposal to retrench 400 people.

This follows a accusatory statement by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) claiming that the Necsa board has tabled a turnaround strategy before the Department of Energy which proposes the retrenchment of 400 staff members and possible sale of public assets.

NEHAWU said this was done without the knowledge and consultation of organised labour. “We have also learnt that even the Necsa Executive Committee (EXCO) was also not consulted,” said Zola Saphetha, spokesperson for NEHAWU.

In its response to the statement by NEHAWU, Necsa said its board inherited a dire financial situation when it assumed office in December 2018, with cash flow shortfalls of hundreds of millions of rand and empty order books across divisions. “Much of this can be attributed to policy uncertainty around the new nuclear build and urgent decisions needed to be made. The NECSA board will engage with all stakeholders and role players in accordance with the provisions of the law.”

Energy minister Jeff Radebe removed the SA Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) 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.

The CEO, Phumzile Tshelane, was fired from his post and removed from the organisation’s board earlier this year. “The decision was made because of the serious charges brought against Tshelane, coupled with a resolution by the Necsa board. It was also based on the recommendation of a disciplinary panel,” Radebe said.

Rob Adam, former Necsa executive was appointed to head the new board of directors. NEHAWU said in its statement the appointment of white males in key positions in the organisation is the reversal of the transformation agenda.

“We have since learnt that the Necsa Board has intentions to close and/or sell Pelchem, Pelindaba Enterprises and Necsa property. We call on the Board to publicly confirm or deny these allegations. Similarly, NTP has intentions of selling its subsidiaries who are profitable, namely, NTP Logistics, Gamma-tek and AEC Amersham.”
Necsa will formally respond to NEHAWU’s statement and allegations later this week.