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South Africa’s President Zuma now has a new (Nuclear) Energy Minister: David Mahlobo praises nuclear energy

New Energy Minister Mahlobo’s first words on his nuclear vision for SA, Fin 24, Oct 19 2017 Matthew le Cordeur , Cape Town – Incoming Energy Minister David Mahlobo on Thursday highlighted his vision for South Africa’s nuclear energy future, following the approval for Eskom to develop 4GW of new power stations near Koeberg last week.

Mahlobo is the third energy minister this year. Tina Joemat-Pettersson was axed in March after the nuclear programme was halted following a court ruling. Her successor, Mmamoloko Kubayi, was this week redeployed to the communications ministry, with speculation that President Jacob Zuma was not happy with her progress in restarting the nuclear procurement programme.

Critics and opposition parties have warned that Mahlobo’s appointment could be an attempt by Zuma to push through the nuclear deal, as the president’s leadership position hangs in the balance ahead of the ANC’s elective conference in December.

4GW of new nuclear next to Koeberg

His appointment comes as the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) last week authorised its Final Environmental Impact Report for the power station at Duynefontein, giving Eskom permission to develop a new nuclear plant next to the existing Koeberg power station.

Koeberg, based outside Cape Town, is Africa’s only nuclear power station and contributes 6%, or 1.8GW, to South Africa’s power grid.

Citing the outdated 2010 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which states that South Africa requires 9.6GW of nuclear energy before 2030, Mahlobo said the latest development forms part of a “policy decision to pursue nuclear energy as a baseload energy form to mitigate our carbon footprint”………..

Zuma’s nuclear minister?

Allegations that Mahlobo’s appointment is a desperate bid by Zuma to get the nuclear new build programme off the ground hinge on revelation that he accompanied Zuma (with Deputy International Relations Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo) on a state visit to Russia in 2014, where he met with Putin at his residence in Novo-Ogariovo. No aides, advisers or wives went along, creating a veil of secrecy.

It has been widely speculated that Zuma and Putin struck a deal on nuclear cooperation at this meeting, but no evidence has ever emerged to confirm this. Rosatom, Zuma and the Department of Energy have consistently denied such a deal.

Democratic Alliance energy spokesperson Gordon Mackay said South Africans should be deeply concerned. “This is the state securitisation of the energy department. It started under Kubayi and will be completed under Mahlobo.”


October 20, 2017 - Posted by | politics, South Africa

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