The National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) is tasked with protecting the public and the environment from radiation. The NNR Act of 1999 requires that the Board of the NNR includes a person representing civil society. Despite that, in 2020 civil society became progressively unhappy that there seemed to be no such representative.
After being nominated by several organisations in late 2020, in June 2021, Peter Becker of the Koeberg Alert Alliance was appointed to the Board to fulfil this role.
Currently, there is a lot of attention on the work being done at Koeberg which requires prior approval from the NNR. There are meetings of the Board this week where technical aspects of these matters will be discussed and decided on.
On Monday 17 January Becker was refused access to the agenda and document packs for these meetings by the Board secretary, and his access to the online document portal has been revoked. He wrote to the Board chair asking for a reason, but to date no response has been received. He also was not invited to the online meetings.
According to the NNR Act, only the Minister has the power to appoint Board members and, under specific circumstances, remove them. According to Becker, at the time of the release of this statement (10am on 18 January) no such decision by the Minister had been communicated to him.
It is deeply disturbing that at the very time when difficult decisions need to be made by the NNR about Koeberg, the representative of communities affected by these decisions is being excluded from Board meetings in an apparently unlawful manner.
Update 18 January 2021 14:40:
A letter signed 18 January by Minister Mantashe was sent to Becker at 14:00 suspending him from office as a Director of the Board.