Ramaphosa must explain appointment of Mabuza as envoy to Russia

The DA notes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s appointment of Deputy President, David Mabuza, as his special envoy to Russia.

With this appointment, it appears Ramaphosa is following former President Jacob Zuma’s lead after he appointed former Energy and Intelligence Minister David Mahlobo as his liaison to Russia.

That culminated in the revamping of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to try and “force in nuclear”. The ANC government has irrationally pursued nuclear for a long period of time, beginning with the signing of the controversial intergovernmental agreements linked to the R1.2 trillion nuclear deal.

Parliament was told in March that Ramaphosa’s new Cabinet was reconsidering the IRP. Ramaphosa himself even stated that we have no money to go for a nuclear plant build programme at the World Economic Forum in January this year.

This appeared to signal a rejection of any Nuclear Deal which Zuma has been pushing for, but the President’s latest move suggests otherwise.

It is important that Ramaphosa sheds light on his appointment of Mabuza to this new role and the brief that he has been given as this could likely determine whether South Africa adopts an expensive nuclear energy build as part of the IRP.

The country cannot afford nuclear energy and the DA supports cleaner and cheaper alternatives as part of the country’s energy mix.

Nuclear: Deal or No Deal?

The Deputy Minister of Energy, Thembisile Majola, told Parliament today that the new Cabinet is reconsidering the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) that the old Cabinet approved in December last year.
This is the clearest indication yet that President Cyril Ramaphosa may reject former President Jacob Zuma’s planned nuclear build programme.
Ms. Majola told the Portfolio Committee on Energy that Minister Jeff Radebe had requested the IRP to be “re-processed” and taken back to Cabinet because “certain things were not done”. It is unfortunate that the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee would not allow the DA to pose questions as to what these “certain things” were.
We are therefore left to speculate as to whether the new Cabinet is rejecting the old Cabinet’s IRP because of the inclusion of new nuclear investment in it. Indeed, last week the Director-General of the Energy Department, Thabane Zulu, himself speculated that new nuclear would remain part of the energy mix going forward.
Given the need for certainty in the energy sector, it is time Minister Radebe made a clear and unambiguous statement on the status of the IRP that was approved by Cabinet in December. In particular, he must tell the public once and for all whether the building of new nuclear power stations features in government’s energy plans.
The fact is that we cannot afford a R1.2 trillion nuclear deal and the sooner the project is squashed, the better. If President Ramaphosa is to deliver on his promise of a “new deal” he has no choice but to reject the nuclear deal.

We are ready to interdict the nuclear deal

The DA will not hesitate to interdict any attempt by Minister of Energy, David Mahlobo, to force through a nuclear deal despite the fact that South Africa does not need or afford the estimated R1 trillion deal.
Media reports today indicate that the Energy Department has been forced to work overtime to ensure the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) is ready by 14 November, a full four months ahead of when it was due.
With each passing day, it becomes clear that Minister Mahlobo was appointed to make sure that the necessary nuclear deal would be pushed through.
We will not allow Mahlobo to appease his friends, the Russians, at the expense of millions of South Africans who are struggling to survive with no jobs in a flat economy.
The DA will use every legal and Parliamentary tool at our disposal to ensure that the generations to come will not be shackled to massive debt that will compromise South Africa’s future.

Mahlobo greases wheels for nuclear deal

Indications by the new Energy Minister, David Mahlobo, that the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) will be moved forward and ready by the end of November are alarming and are yet another instance of government sending mixed signals on nuclear energy.
The IRP is a vital step for the controversial nuclear deal and is the most important piece of the nuclear puzzle. It has to be in place as the precursor for a “legal” nuclear process to start and once it has been completed, the deal will be fast-tracked.
The DA will interrogate the document to determine whether the document remains a substantive reflection of the original draft approved by Cabinet and reflective of public comment.
Should there be any suspicions of dodgy dealings, the DA will interdict any IRP that fails this test.
The previous Minister committed to deliver the IRP in February 2018 before the Budget Speech, yet there has been no progress made on it. It is therefore quite suspicious that such a large document will now be ready in one month.
Mahlobo is seemingly perfectly placed to secure the nuclear deal for his friends, the Russians, and this is but the first clear indication of this relationship.
The DA will not allow future generations of South Africans to be unnecessarily tied to a nuclear deal that we cannot afford and do not need.

Eskom must account before Parliament for alleged nuclear pay-offs

The DA will today write to the Chair of Chairpersons to request that Eskom is urgently summoned to appear before Parliament, to account for the damning allegations that the entity has paid off anti-nuclear research groups.
According to a report released by amaBhugane, Eskom has allegedly paid the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) millions of rands in exchange for their silence on government’s nuclear aspirations.
These two research groups have in the past been among the most critical voices against the nuclear deal, and if these allegations are true, two well respected South African research foundations have been discredited because of greed and corruption.
This sets a very dangerous precedent for the lengths that Jacob Zuma’s government will go to, to force a nuclear deal through. This also shows that the government is not rolling out the nuclear option in good faith at all, but seemingly stooping to depths of “paying off” opponents to nuclear.
These allegations are serious and are indicative of the alleged rot of corruption that has captured our government and state entities.
Parliament must now investigate these allegations. At a time when the “nuclear question” is of national importance, we cannot allow Eskom to allegedly pay off opposing voices.
The DA will continue to fight against the onslaught of state capture that is so devastatingly impacting our economy already, and will only impoverish our country.

Pushing ahead with R1 trillion nuclear deal will guarantee junk status

Media reports today that the nuclear deal is going full-steam ahead is extremely concerning and will essentially guarantee that South Africa will be downgraded by further ratings agencies, and will make recovering from this status even more difficult.
According to a confidential document, in June Eskom will issue a formal request for proposals for the R1 trillion contract for the nuclear build programme. The winning bidder will be confirmed in March next year and the contract signed and sealed between December 2018 and March 2019.
Fitch stated in no uncertain terms that a key driver behind the decision was that “Eskom, has already issued a request for information for nuclear suppliers and is expected to issue a request for proposals for nuclear power stations later this year. The treasury under its previous leadership had said that Eskom could not absorb the nuclear programme with its current approved guarantees, so the treasury will likely have to substantially increase guarantees to Eskom”.
The DA will write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, Ms Dipuo Letsatsi-Dub, to request an urgent meeting of the committee in order to ensure that Parliament, as a key oversight body, will fully interrogate all aspects related to the nuclear deal.
The undeniable fact is that South Africa cannot afford, and does not need, the nuclear deal. Indeed, international ratings agencies agree and this deal has been repeatedly cited as a cause for great concern and a key factor in downgrades not only for Eskom, but the country as a whole.
Last week, Standard & Poor’s Global and Moody’s downgraded the long-term corporate credit rating on Eskom from B+ to BB-.
These downgrades have already and will continue to have a devastating effect on our economy. Jobs will be lost and the cost of living will increase, which will hurt the poor.
The ANC-led government is ignoring these facts and the massively negative effect on ordinary South Africans only reaffirms that they no longer put the best interest of our country or its people first.