Russia, SA nuclear deal about to claim first scalp
Publish date: 13 May 2019
Issue Number: 823
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
The Russian nuclear deal is about to claim its first victim, with SA's Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) poised to fire its chief executive, Phumzile Tshelane, says a City Press report. Tshelane – who was party to a co-operation agreement signed with Rusatom Healthcare, a subsidiary of Russian nuclear agency Rosatom – was found guilty on Friday of four charges of misconduct by its chairperson Advocate Nazeer Cassim SC. Tshelane was found guilty of having signed the nuclear co-operation agreement without the approval of Energy Minister Jeff Radebe, as well as splurging R500 000 on a golf day when the entity could not afford to pay salaries, and unlawfully appointing one of the board members and paying him a monthly retainer. The CEO was not entitled to participate in the signing of the so-called nuclear deal without Ministerial approval, Cassim said. But, notes the report, Tshelane knows nothing about his impending dismissal. He reportedly told City Press: ‘I am surprised and taken aback that there are findings. As far as I know, the disciplinary hearing is not complete as I’m still to testify.’ In his 10-page report, Cassim said Tshelane, through his attorneys, asked for more time to finalise his response to the charges drawn up by Mncedisi Ndlovu & Sedumedi Attorneys, who represented Necsa, but instead approached the High Court to interdict proceedings. According to the charge sheet, in July last year Necsa, with the State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom), concluded the Strategic Document on Co-operation in the Sphere of Non-Power Related Uses of Nuclear Technologies. That agreement bound Necsa to co-operate with Rosatom to investigate the possible deepening of commercial co-operation in areas of production and distribution of MO-99 Radio Isotope for the global market. They also wanted to build solution reactors in SA.