Govt. spokesperson calls the M&G “mischievous”

Liars: Acting GCIS CEO, Phumla Williams says newspaper is lying. Pic: GCIS
Liars: Acting GCIS CEO, Phumla Williams says newspaper is lying. Pic: GCIS

Pretoria – Government has dismissed allegations by the Mail & Guardian on the restructuring of the National Nuclear Energy Executive Co-ordinating Committee (NNEECC), with Acting Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) CEO Phumla Williams describing the newspaper’s report as devoid of truth.

Among other claims, the newspaper said President Jacob Zuma had “quietly” replaced Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe as chair of the NNEECC and that Motlanthe’s government responsibilities have been “further downgraded” following his bid for ANC leadership in December.

Williams said: “Over the years, the committee has been restructured to improve effectiveness.  In April 2013, Cabinet approved the further restructuring of the NNEECC, a move that is supported by the Nuclear Energy Technical Committee which consists of all the relevant departments.”

The revised committee is chaired by the President and comprises the Ministries of Energy, Public Enterprises, Finance, State Security, Defence and International Relations.

Williams said the size of the committee was reduced to strengthen its efficiency in decision making.

“Government dismisses suggestions that the restructuring was an attempt to remove the Deputy President from the structure. All the departments that are linked to the nuclear energy programme participate in the various technical committees that are managed at official level.”

The Deputy President remained a member of Cabinet that discusses all the issues that come from the various committees of Cabinet.

It was mischievous for the Mail & Guardian to further suggest that diplomatic relations between South Africa and Russia were linked to the country’s energy plans, said Williams.

Such an allegation was baseless, as South Africa is a member of the BRICS bloc and is bound to have meetings with its counterparts as and when it is required.

Also, the review of Cabinet committees was an on-going process.

“Any attempt to read anything into those reviews is pure mischief.” – SAnews.gov.za