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Govt misses court deadline on nuclear plan

May 18 2016 19:12
Liesl Peyper

Cape Town - The government failed to submit answering affidavits in the court case with leading environmentalists and activists who claim that Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson acted unconstitutionally in not submitting the government's nuclear deal with Russia to Parliament.

In October last year, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and the South African Faith Communities Environment Institution (SAFCEI) filed court papers challenging the constitutionality of the intergovernmental framework agreements the Department of Energy signed with Russia, China, South Korea and the USA on the country's planned nuclear development.

On Friday, May 13 was the deadline on which government was supposed to respond to the civil society’s application to the high court, but it failed to deliver answering affidavits by this date, said SAFCEI spokesperson Liziwe McDaid.

“We have therefore instructed our lawyers to apply to the court to force the government to respond. We believe that the government is once again dragging its heels in responding.”

SAFCEI said it waited for Joemat-Pettersson to provide the records of the decisions that are being challenged. “In that period, SAFCEI and Earthlife Africa generously allowed the government extensions which eventually meant that government only provided the requisite documents on February 16 2016.”

The two organisations instructed their lawyers to issue a Rule 30A notice to prohibit further delays. The notice was served on the state attorney on Friday.

Last week Joemat-Pettersson announced her department's intent to issue a request for proposal to confirm market appetite for the fleet of nuclear plants, so that the government can make an informed decision about a nuclear build programme.

She assured South Africans that the procurement process would be above board and that government would stick to a build programme it can afford.

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