NEWS & ANALYSIS

DA to request probe on appointment of Russian linked consultants – Gordon Mackay

Party says SCOPA must investigate involvement to make sure no nuclear deal has been awarded secretly

Nuke deal: DA to request SCOPA probe on appointment of Russian-linked consultants 

28 June 2016

The DA will be requesting our colleagues in the Standing Committee on Public Appropriations (SCOPA) to call for an investigation into the appointment of a Russian-linked company, WorleyParsons, without public consultation, especially in light of the adamant denials by the Minister of Energy, Tina Joemat-Peterrsson, that the Russians have not been secretively awarded the nuclear deal. 

WorleyParsons have direct links with Russian nuclear firm Rosatom. They are involved with Rosatom on projects in Turkey, Jordan, Russia, Armenia, Bulgria and Egypt, providing pre-construction consulting services, engineering and technical advice. In each  of these cases, Rosatom has ended up as the preferred bidder. There are a further two projects in Saudi Arabia and Poland that Rosatom are looking to get their hands on, with WorleyParsons as the pre-delivery consultants.

This appointment further strengthens the argument that the Department of Energy have already decided and signed an agreement with Russia on the nuclear build programme, despite all the protestations to the contrary. 

It is concerning that this appointment comes on the back of a court case between Earthlife/South Africa Faith Communities Environmental Initiative and the Department of Energy regarding the legality of the intergovernmental agreement. The evidence comes in the form of a state law adviser that stated that the draft agreement intended and was understood as creating a firm commitment for Russia to build the nuclear plants. 

As the Western Cape High Court is still to make a ruling on this case,  it would be unwise and premature for the department to proceed with the requests for proposals (RFP) or consultant appointment. Failure to honour the court’s decision could lead to substantial legal costs at the tax payers expense. This decision concerns the DA immensely. 

The nuclear procurement process has been stalled indefinitely since April, with the requests for proposals (RFP) not being issued by the department. The DA, which has been calling for the nuclear programme to be abandoned from the outset, welcomed this delay as the first step toward its outright cancellation. The DA has staunchly opposed the nuke deal since it was first revealed and will be monitoring this consultation process carefully and vigilantly to make sure the nuclear process is transparent and corruption-free.

 I am still waiting on the Minister of Energy, Ms Joemat-Pettersson, to reply to my letter in April which asked her to suspend the nuclear process in the light of a number of these procedural irregularities. The ANC government simply cannot proceed with a nuclear procurement process that is not open, transparent and free from corruption. 

With the South African economy in crisis, we cannot allow a deal that places the already strained fiscus at further risk.

Issued by Gordon Mackay, DA Shadow Minister of Energy, 28 June 2016