With controversy swirling around the Koeberg nuclear power plant, the only civil society representative on the facility’s oversight body wants his seat back.

Former National Nuclear Regulator board member, Peter Becker, maintains his removal by Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe was unlawful.

And the courts agree.

The Western Cape High Court dismissed Mantashe’s bid for leave to appeal its decision, that Becker must be reinstated.

Becker was fired from the board in 2022 and his term as a board member is coming to an end less than 12 months.

In his court papers, the activist wants the court to extend the period as he was unlawfully sacked for a year.

Mantashe and the NNR have subsequently petitioned the Supreme Court of Appeal directly in a last-ditch attempt to keep Becker away from their decision-making processes.

There are currently debates around possible financial malfeasance at the plant, decisions to be made around shutting down unit two next month, and about extending Koeberg’s life-span.

Becker was fired following comments he’d made in an interview in which he criticised nuclear power – and raised concerns over safety of the plant.

He says wants to continue with his duties.

“My earnest wish as I’ve said in the court papers is to return to do my duties and continue to represent communities on the NNR board. While this process is being dragged on through the courts it means that I’m being prevented from doing that”