The allegations in the media regarding the high-level Russian delegation who met with President Jacob Zuma shortly before the second cabinet reshuffle in seven months, which saw David Mahlobo appointed as Energy Minister, ostensibly to push through the nuclear deal in favour of the Russians, are startling, to say the least.
The previous Minister of Energy, Mmamoloko Kubayi, committed on record to abide by the Western Cape High Court’s ruling in April of this year, which declared that all Requests for Information (RFI) and potential RFP pursuant to the outdated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and Section 34 Ministerial Determinations are set aside with immediate effect. Mr Mahlobo is reminded that he too is bound by the court judgment and any deviation will be illegal.
In order for the nuclear deal to be approved, five key pieces of legislation/regulations will need to be updated and amended, which will require Parliament’s participation. These are:
- The Integrated Resource Plan;
- The Electricity pricing path;
- The procurement regulations;
- The framework agreements; and
- Changes to the energy act – to allow for a different funding/ownership model.
In addition, the court ruling made clear the need for a substantial public participation process.
The fact is that we cannot afford nor do we need the nuclear deal. In any event, it is doubtful that we need nuclear in the energy mix bearing in mind that by the time reactors come online, green energy will be able to fill the gap sufficiently.
The DA will be keeping a very close eye out for any such amendments and will also push for the entire process to be open and competitive. Should the details of any progress on pushing through this costly and unnecessary nuclear build not be open to the public, the deal will be tainted and the DA will not hesitate to go to court to interdict it.