Nuclear Deal: Is it off or on? - Gavin Davis

DA says Finance Minister said nuclear plans still on table, wants unambiguous answer from Energy Minister

Nuclear Deal: Is it off or on?

6 March 2018

The DA challenges new Energy Minister Jeff Radebe to give the South African public an unequivocal and unambiguous statement on the nuclear deal.

Yesterday, new Finance Minister Nhlanla Nene said that nuclear plans are still on the table, before adding that this would be subject to affordability.

Today, in Parliament’s Energy Portfolio Committee, the Director-General of the Department of Energy, Thabane Zulu, said that the Department of Energy is preparing a road-map to deal with nuclear.

The Director-General added that he wouldn’t be surprised if nuclear is part of the new Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) since nuclear is part of the Department’s energy policy.

We had hoped that President Ramaphosa’s election, and his appointment of Minister Radebe in place of Minister Mahlobo, signalled the death knell of the R1 trillion nuclear deal.

It now seems the door has been left open to go ahead with the nuclear deal. This would be a slap in the face for every South African who believed President Ramaphosa when he promised a ‘new dawn’ for our country.

It also gives credence to allegations in the public domain that it wasn’t just ‘Zupta’ politicians who benefited from illegal kickbacks in return for a nuclear deal.

In the ‘Betrayal of the Promise’ report authored by a number of respected academics, allegations are made that the ANC received R1 billion for its 2016 local election campaign in return for a nuclear deal. As the report says, on page 17:

There are allegations that one set of transactions involved Russian funding for the local government elections, which may explain where the ANC managed to find R1 billion for this campaign.”

If the ANC as a whole benefited from illegal kickbacks, then it will be much more difficult for President Ramaphosa to renege on whatever promises have been made.

Indeed, the continued prevarication from ANC Ministers and government officials does nothing to quell the rumours that continue to swirl around nuclear procurement.

The new Energy Minister, Jeff Radebe, has been very quiet since assuming office last week. The time has come for him to break his silence by unequivocally and unambiguously rejecting the nuclear deal.

We call on him to do so without any further delay.

Issued by Gavin DavisDA Shadow Minister of Energy, 6 March 2018