Press release: Let the courts decide
8 October 2016. SAFCEI and Earthlife Africa Jhb are seeking justice in the courts.
In an interview with Fin24, Rosatom’s regional vice-president for sub-Saharan Africa stated that ‘[l]egally, there is nothing in the agreement between Rosatom and the Department of Energy (DoE) that indicates a nuclear deal has been concluded’. Rosatom claims that its agreement with South Africa is very general.
It is assumed that Rosatom is referring to an agreement on strategic partnership and nuclear co-operation signed in 2014 between the governments of South Africa and the Russian Federation (not Rosatom). This agreement forms part of a legal challenge being brought by ELA-Jhb and SAFCEI on the nuclear decision-making and procurement process, who are concerned that the agreement records binding undertakings in relation to the procurement of new nuclear generation capacity as well as onerous liability provisions that were made absent and prior to any constitutionally compliant tender process (a more general agreement on nuclear co-operation had been signed in 2004). The 2014 agreement was also tabled in Parliament using a procedure that does not require Parliamentary approval of the agreement, a decision that is also being challenged.
“ELA-Jhb and SAFCEI do not want to become embroiled in legal argument in the press relating to its court challenge, and look forward to the Russian agreement and its tabling in Parliament and the various other grounds of challenge being subjected to judicial scrutiny when the High Court hears this matter on 13 and 14 December 2016. This case is about whether the decision making process undertaken by government, and in particular by the Minister and NERSA in the 2013 s 34 Determination, in deciding to procure 9.6GW of nuclear energy, was conducted in a lawful and constitutional manner”, says the ELA’s Makoma Lekalala.
SAFCEI and ELA-JHB have noted that cabinet has stated that it will delay the requests for proposals, reportedly until the energy plan (IEP) and its subset, electricity plan (IRP) have been completed.
“This is a welcome step towards good governance. Buying nuclear power plants and relying on an outdated 6 year old electricity plan to justify such massive public spending, and without determining if we still need them, smells very fishy!” Stated Liziwe McDaid, spokesperson for SAFCEI. “Such actions are not in the public interest”.
“If this nuclear deal goes ahead, our children and grandchildren will bear the costs”, stated Makoma Lekalala, of ELA, “not only will our electricity bills soar to pay for this nuclear folly but we will have to pay back the debt and where will the money come from for schools or tertiary education”
For further information, please contact:
Ms Liziwe McDaid (SAFCEI)
Cell: 082 731 5643
Ms Dominique Doyle (ELA-Jhb)
cell: 079 331 2028