Nuke Deal: Is cabinet at war with itself? - Gordon Mackay

DA wants to know why Minister of Energy announced nuclear build programme would commence if relevant policy wasn't passed

Another Nuke Deal delay – Is cabinet at war with itself? 

27 September 2016

Confusion reigns regarding the commencement of the trillion rand nuclear new build programme, which was expected to begin officially on Friday. This follows comments made by Minister Naledi Pandor at the National Development Plan Cabinet Briefing this afternoon, where she indicated a further potential delay is expected.  

In a response to a question from a Johannesburg based journalist regarding the commencement of the nuclear new build programme on Friday September 30th – Minister Pandor categorically stated that the RFP could not possibly be issued as the underlying energy policy document determining South Africa’s energy mix (a precursory document) known as the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) had not yet been passed by Cabinet. 

While the statement by the Minister should be cautiously welcomed- as the procurement of costly nuclear technology cannot currently be justified- the Minister’s comments raise a series of very important questions:

- If the RFP is to be further delayed on the basis of the need to adopt and updated IRP document – why then did Minister of Energy Tina Joematt-Pettersson announce to Parliament this month the nuclear new build programme would commence on September 30th?

- If the RFP is not to be issued– why then has Tina Joematt-Pettersson misled Parliament?

- Are Minister Pandor’s comments indicative of a Cabinet at war with itself, with Minister’s revolting against the President’s heavy handedness on the procurement of nuclear?

- Is there a move by government to sideline the Department of Energy (DoE) procurement process in order to allow Eskom to procure nuclear directly and without DoE or parliamentary oversight? 

- If the RFP is not to be issued, why then the excessive “hardsell” of the benefits of nuclear power undertaken in great earnest by Eskom in the past week?

The cloud of confusion and suspicion hanging over the potential nuclear new build programme continues to mushroom. Minister Joematt Pettersson, who has done her utmost to prevent oversight by Parliament of the nuclear new build programme, may now be guilty of misleading Parliament. She has proven time and again that she cannot be trusted to act in the best interest of our people. The time has come for the Minister to come clean or get out. The South African people will accept nothing less.

Issued by Gordon Mackay, DA Shadow Minister of Energy, 27 September 2016