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Legal action in South Africa’s High Court against government’s rushed nuclear energy deal

Two NGOs launch urgent High Court application against nuclear energy deal https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/2017-11-17-two-ngos-launch-urgent-high-court-application-against-nuclear-energy-deal/   17 NOVEMBER 2017   KYLE COWAN On Thursday, two non-governmental organisations (NGOs) launched an urgent court application to halt what they are calling a “rush by government in decision-making on the nuclear energy deal”.Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute said in a statement on Friday that they have approached the High Court to ask for an order to stay the process.

Last week, the same NGOs sent a request to Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown and Energy Minister David Mahlobo‚ as well as the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa)‚ asking for a commitment to follow legal processes and allow public consultation on proposed nuclear deals.

The three parties had not responded to the request by Wednesday‚ the statement said.

Earthlife’s Makoma Lekalakala said: “We are part of an international movement against dirty nuclear energy‚ where we have seen governments enter into nuclear deals that are not in the interests of their people. That must not happen in SA.”

According to Earthlife‚ Mahlobo’s recent “utterances in the press” suggested that the finalisation of the integrated resource plan and the nuclear programme was being fast-tracked, “yet government has failed to implement the necessary public participation required by the court judgement that was delivered on 26 April 2017”.

The NGOs will ask the court to declare that:

• No steps‚ including the issuing of requests for proposals or request for information‚ be taken for the procurement of new electricity-generation capacity‚ derived from nuclear power.

• Steps not be taken in the absence of a lawful determination in terms of s34 of the Electricity Regulation Act‚ in concurrence with Nersa‚ following a procedurally fair public participation process.

“This determination would have to specify that new, nuclear energy electricity generation is needed‚ and what percentage of SA’s energy mix it would fulfil.”

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has also indicated that the country may not be able to afford the nuclear programme‚ which is estimated will cost upwards of R1-trillion.

The court will also be asked to direct Mahlobo and Eskom to provide written reports on what steps they have taken, or plan to take, on plans for nuclear power. Should evidence exist that they have taken steps to forge ahead with the nuclear programme‚ the court will be asked to declare Mahlobo and Eskom in contempt of court for violating the April court order.

“We cannot have unaccountable government,” said Liz McDaid of the faith communities’ institute. “We have now seen overwhelming evidence emerging in the public arena that shows how state institutions have been captured and how money that is meant to deliver services to South Africans has gone into the pockets of looters.”

“The nuclear deal‚ purportedly worth more than R1-trillion‚ is yet another one of these deals. SA cannot afford‚ nor does it need, new nuclear power-generation capacity. I think South Africans have had enough.”

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November 17, 2017 - Posted by | Legal, South Africa

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