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No to nuclear power – South Africa’s Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba

Gigaba says no to nuclear, Fin 24, 2017-10-29  – Sipho Masondo and Setumo Stone, Johannesburg – Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba says drastic steps are needed to help South Africa’s ailing economy – including freezing senior civil servants’ salaries and selling chunks of state-owned enterprises.

In an exclusive interview with City Press on Friday, Gigaba unveiled the surprise moves, which include slamming brakes on the country’s estimated R1 trillion nuclear build programme, saying it is neither affordable nor currently necessary.

“There was a time when it was felt that nuclear is necessary and it must be implemented and programmes were started. But it became clear, as the economy took a serious dip, that we were not going to afford nuclear, that the country couldn’t afford it and the budget couldn’t afford it,” he said.

“It is quite clear that, at present, we can meet our electricity needs and we can even meet them into the future, given the excess electricity that we have.”

Nuclear power, Gigaba said, will remain part of the country’s energy mix. However, this will only happen when the economy is growing fast, when there is “high uptake of electricity from intensive users, when we can see that we are reaching the stage where existing capacity is being fully utilised and the demand and supply margin is very narrow”.

Gigaba said it was not a “malicious view” to shelve the nuclear programme for now, considering the R50bn budget shortfall, a rising budget deficit, National Health Insurance, demands for free higher education, and a national debt to GDP ratio which is set to breach the 60% threshold by 2022.

“If you look at Eskom’s balance sheet, they will not be able to afford nuclear, they will need a guarantee from government. Government guarantees are ultimately state debt, because when a state-owned company cannot afford to pay the guarantees, the national fiscus needs to step in and pay. That is what happened at SAA,” he said…….http://www.fin24.com/Budget/gigaba-says-no-to-nuclear-20171029-3

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October 29, 2017 - Posted by | business and costs, politics, South Africa

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