19 January 2023
The judgment of the Western Cape High Court, Cape Town, is available here.
- Neutral citation: Becker v Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy and Others (3473/2022)  ZAWCHC 5 (19 January 2023)
- Case Number: 3473/2022
- Coram: Mantame J
- Date delivered: 19 January 2023
- Outcome: The Minister’s decision to fire Mr Becker from the National Nuclear Regulator was set aside, declared unconstitutional and invalid. The Minster, the Regulator and its Chairperson were ordered to pay Mr Becker’s costs.
This is an application for judicial review of a decision by the Minister to discharge the applicant, Mr Becker, as a director of the National Nuclear Regulator for misconduct in terms of the National Nuclear Regulation Act 47 of 1999.
Mr Becker was discharged from his position following statements he made which were recorded in an article published in the online magazine ‘Energize’ on 30 June 2021 and some further reasons that were put forward by the Minister. Mr Becker did not dispute the statements, but contended that if due regard was heard to his statements, there were no grounds to sustain a conclusion of misconduct, and that the Minister’s decision was vitiated by various irregularities, bad faith and an ulterior purpose, and was accordingly unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid.
The court ordered that:
- The decision of the Minister taken on 25 February 2022 to discharge Mr Becker with immediate effect is declared unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid in terms of Section 172(1)(a) of the Constitution;
- The reasons and decision of the Minister taken on 25 February 2022 to discharge Mr Becker from his office as a Director of the Board is reviewed and set aside.
- The state respondent are ordered to pay costs of the application including costs of two counsel.