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Joemat-Pettersson: Govt will stick to affordable nuclear plan

May 11 2016 15:24
Liesl Peyper

Cape Town - Energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said the government would stick to a nuclear build programme it can afford and make sure the process is above board and free of any potential for corruption.
 
In her budget vote speech in parliament on Wednesday Joemat-Pettersson said significant preparatory work has been done for the deployment of at least 9 600 MW of nuclear power by 2030.
 
“The National Development Plan implored government to undertake detailed investigations prior to make a final decision,” Joemat-Pettersson said, which led to various studies and strategies. After due consideration cabinet allowed the department of energy to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to find out if there’s market appetite for a nuclear programme.
 
“The RFP phase would ensure that our country gets the best arrangement to implement the nuclear new build programme,” she said. “And, we will only implement what our country can afford.”
 
In addition government will make sure the process is above board and free of any potential for corruption, she said. “We will not rush the process and will meet all the necessary national and international requirements for the new build process.”
 
The department of energy received a total of R7.5bn for the 2016 to 2017 financial year of which 90.2% is earmarked for transfer to municipalities and state owned entities. “The remaining 9.8% will be used for the department’s operational and capital expenditure,” Joemat-Pettersson said.

To conclude, Joemat-Pettersson said to MPs in the opposition benches that she and her department would take their input into account. “We’re not prepared to steamroll decisions and will listen to members.”

Another Nkandla in the making

The DA’s Gordon Mackay said in response to Joemat-Pettersson’s budget speech that the procurement of nuclear energy stands out as the single biggest risk factor in South Africa.
 
He estimated the nuclear bill at R1.6 trillion, which is more than South Africa’s budget for the 2016/17 financial year. He further argued that the nuclear build programme would destroy 75 000 existing jobs and have a severe impact on the country’s GDP for at least the next 20 years.
 
“Simply put, this is a foolhardy decision. Why is government doggedly pursuing this deal? It’s because it’s all in the interest of one man (president Jacob Zuma).”
 
The EFF’s Mzingisi Dlamini advised Joemat-Pettersson to “stay away" from procuring nuclear energy.
 
“It’s another Nkandla in the making.”

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