South African Municipality told to stop polluting water resources.
South African Municipality told to stop polluting water resources. Image credit: 123rf.

Last week, the urgent application in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria brought by three members of the allegedly disbanded Necsa Board to set aside Energy Minister Jeff Radebe’s controversial order for their removal, was struck from the urgent role due to an eleventh-hour tactic.

By filing more than 800 additional pages the case was no longer “urgent” on a technicality.

If the papers do not add essential substance, filing them might be a questionable ploy to subvert justice, warned a press statement from the dismissed board members.

For an urgent action to be heard, the papers may not exceed 500 pages. Cases exceeding 500 pages must be scheduled for longer hearings. The Minister’s 800 pages made an urgent hearing impossible, explained the dismissed trio.

Necsa case not urgent

In his answering affidavit, Radebe originally argued that the case was not urgent. Radebe’s last minute intervention means that Necsa Chair Dr Kelvin Kemm, CEO Phumzile Tshelane and Chair of the Board’s Audit and Compliance Subcommittee Pamela Bosman have to wait a further month before having their day in court. Read more: South African energy minister replaces NECSA board

Radebe accused the entire Board of “insubordination” and “defiance”, and claimed summarily to have removed all Board members from office on dubious grounds and flawed procedure. Far from acting in a defiant and insubordinate manner, the three Board members challenging him insist they took a principled stand in the interests of Necsa and South Africa.

The three Necsa Board members state that, not only was the Minister’s action procedurally unfair and irregular, it was a smokescreen. The real agenda was to remove board members opposing an irregular deal, which involves the minister wanting to sell 60% of the valuable 100% Necsa owned subsidiary, NTP Radio Isotopes, to an American company, they stated. Read more: Dismissed Necsa board members fire back