Daily Maverick AMABHUNGANE 20 OCT 2016
At a special late-night tender committee meeting, Eskom executives agreed to hand a Gupta company R587-million – money that was used, two days later, to help pay the R2.15-billion purchase price for Optimum Coal. By Susan Comrie for AMABHUNGANE.
Six hours after the banks refused to give the Guptas a R600-million loan for their controversial Optimum Coal deal, Eskom came to their rescue.
amaBhungane can reveal that at a special late-night tender committee meeting, Eskom executives agreed to hand a Gupta company R587-million – money that was then used, two days later, to help pay the R2.15-billion purchase price for Optimum Coal.
The deal, which documents show was clinched via a 21:00 teleconference call, involved extending Tegeta Exploration and Resources’ coal supply contract with Arnot power station by R587-million.
The fact that Eskom also agreed to pay the money up front reinforces the impression of preferential treatment.
Details of these hurried meetings – all held on April 11 this year – are contained in a report by the business rescue practitioners for Optimum Coal and in minutes of Eskom’s 21:00 meeting that were leaked to Carte Blanche in June.
The report by the business rescue practitioners, Piers Marsden and Peter van den Steen, was made to the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) in terms of section 34 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.
amaBhungane understands that the section 34 report, submitted on July 1 this year, also forms part of former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s state capture report.
The business rescue practitioners refused to confirm or deny the existence of the report, but amaBhungane has seen a copy, which sets out in detail what happened on April 11:
- On that morning, Nazeem Howa, the chief executive of Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments, called the business rescue practitioners and asked for a meeting.
- At 10:00, Howa sat with the practitioners at Tegeta’s office in Sandton and delivered the bad news – Tegeta was R600-million short of the purchase price for Optimum Coal.
- At Howa’s request, the practitioners called an urgent meeting with Optimum’s three bank creditors – First Rand Bank, Investec and Nedbank – and a representative of Optimum’s then-owner, Glencore. At the meeting, held at about 13:30 at First Rand’s Sandton offices, the practitioners asked whether the consortium of banks would offer Tegeta a R600-million bridging loan.
- At 15:00, Marsden phoned Howa to tell him the banks had refused the request.
Leaked Eskom minutes, broadcast on Carte Blanche in June, show that about six hours after Howa was informed that the banks would not stump up the funding, Eskom held a “special tender committee meeting” where it decided to hand Tegeta a R587-million prepayment for coal.
Two days later, Tegeta delivered the full purchase price of R2.15-billion for Optimum Coal.
Tegeta’s purchase of Optimum from Glencore has been muddied by allegations of political interference and favouritism, particularly directed at mines minister Mosebenzi Zwane and Eskom.
Tegeta is partly owned by the Gupta family through Oakbay Investments, but smaller stakes are owned by President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane Zuma, Gupta-linked businessman Salim Essa and an opaque offshore company registered in the United Arab Emirates.
Eskom has repeatedly denied showing Tegeta favourable treatment.
Tegeta, through Oakbay Investments, declined to comment on this detailed timeline, saying it was “subject to an apparent ongoing investigation and the provisions of the Public Protector Act”.
Eskom and Oakbay deny that the approach for the R587-million prepayment was made after Tegeta failed to secure financing from the banks, saying that Eskom had been in discussions with Tegeta for some time.
“Following negotiations (of which we have proof and necessary documentation) we agreed that a prepayment be made against onerous provisions,” Oakbay said. “We cannot comment on how Eskom dealt with the transaction on their side save to mention that a formal agreement was reached, signed pursuant whereto an invoice was issued and paid.”……..
In written statements, Eskom and Oakbay Investments denied that the mine was entitled to receive any part of the prepayment.
Belatedly, Eskom is now seeking to characterise the prepayment as a loan, albeit one that would be repaid in coal at a very high price……….This story was produced by the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2016-10-20-amabhungane-r587m-in-six-hours-how-eskom-paid-for-gupta-mine/#.WAqNwOV97Gg
CABINET TO DISCUSS ESKOM’S ROLE IN NUCLEAR DEAL AT NEXT MEETING http://ewn.co.za/2016/10/20/Cabinet-to-discuss-Eskoms-role-in-nuclear-deal-at-next-meeting
Minister Joematt-Pettersson said in October that Eskom was best-placed to drive the procurement process. Gaye Davis | 2 hours ago
CAPE TOWN – Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe says Cabinet will discuss a proposal that Eskom become the procurement agent for thecountry’s nuclear power programme at its next meeting.
Radebe was responding to questions after briefing on the outcomes of yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.
Energy Minister Tina Joematt-Pettersson said earlier this month Eskom was best-placed to drive the procurement process, while the Department of Energy would act as co-ordinator.
The plan to put Eskom in the nuclear driving seat is set to come before Cabinet in two weeks’ time.
Radebe says, “Eskom being the agency is going to be discussed in the next Cabinet (meeting).The minister of energy will be bringing forth those issues for finalisation by Cabinet.”
Joematt-Pettersson told Parliament’s energy committee earlier this month that Eskom will leverage its own balance sheet to raise the money needed.
Eskom says it wants the first of two nuclear reactors operational in 10 years’ time.
But a revised integrated resource plan, which tries to calculate the country’s long-term energy needs and ways of meeting them, has yet to be approved by Cabinet.
(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)
Climate change killing East Africa’s water resources, UN warns, Daily Nation OCTOBER 20 2016 BY KEVIN J. KELLEY
One of East Africa’s (EA) most important sources of water is drying up due to the impact of climate change on Mt Kilimanjaro, the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) warned on Wednesday.
Why Google Cares about Wind Power in Africa Millions of people are coming online, and that requires (renewable) energy, Scientific American By Daniel Cusick, ClimateWire on October 12, 2016
Google Inc.’s investment in Kenya’s Lake Turkana Wind Power Project is its largest on the African continent to date, but it almost certainly won’t be the last.
The California internet giant has shown a growing interest in sub-Saharan Africa since it made its first cash outlay three years ago—a $12 million investment in the Jasper Solar Power Project in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province.
The 96-megawatt photovoltaic project, completed in 2014, was built by U.S.-based SolarReserve LLC and is capable of powering roughly 80,000 South African homes.
The Lake Turkana deal, whose financial terms were not disclosed, calls for Google to acquire 12.5 percent of the nearly $700 million project from Vestas Wind Systems A/S of Denmark after the wind farm is completed next year.
“We are investing in clean energy projects like Lake Turkana because they make business sense and can help accelerate the deployment of renewable energy,” a Google spokesperson said in an email to E&E News.
She added that the company sees “a large opportunity in fast-growing markets with rich renewable energy resources, where both the need and the potential are great.”
The ownership group includes lead developers Aldwych International Ltd. of Great Britain and KP&P Africa BV of the Netherlands, with additional financial support from international development funds in Norway, Finland and Denmark.
As with Jasper in South Africa, Google said its wind power investment “will help bring much needed capacity and stability to Kenya’s energy supply, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and emergency diesel generation while providing some of the most cost effective power in the country.”
In total, Google has committed more than $2.5 billion to 22 renewable energy projects around the world, mostly through power purchase agreements and direct ownership of wind and solar farms, officials said. Much of its purchased power goes to support massive Google data centers in the United States and Europe.
But the company sees a future in the developing world, where millions of new internet users are coming online annually……..https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-google-cares-about-wind-power-in-africa/
Eskom will finance South Africa’s R1 trillion nuclear plans: minister, Business Tech October 11, 2016 Energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson has told Parliament that South Africa’s ambitious and controversial nuclear energy plans will be entirely funded by Eskom, with no money coming from National Treasury.
The minister was briefing Parliament’s energy oversight committee on Tuesday.
The process around South Africa’s nuclear plans, which will see 9,600MW of nuclear power added to the grid, has been a mysterious one, where the DoE has not revealed any of the details surrounding the project – including its cost.
Conservative estimates have put the build at R500 billion, while experts have noted – taking into consideration the country’s much-delayed Medupi and Kusile power station builds – that costs may balloon to well over R1 trillion.
According to Joemat-Pettersson, Eskom will fund the entire build off its own balance sheet, and the funding process will be handled in the same way as the Medupi and Kusile projects.
No funds will come from Treasury or the fiscus, she said, with Eskom turning to global markets to raise money it needs.
Eskom’s handling of Medupi and Kusile have drawn much criticism as both projects have seen massive delays, labour issues and come in billions of rands over budget………
DA shadow minister of energy, Gordon Mackay, said that Pettersson’s announcement “is nothing short of an elaborate sleight of hand aimed at muddying the water and subverting effective parliamentary oversight over the R1 trillion nuclear deal”.
Mackay said that in designating Eskom as the procuring agent for the nuclear new build the following must be considered:
- The tender will be subject to Eskom’s board tender committee, the very same tender committee found to be corrupt by the Supreme Court of Appeal.
- The tender will be subject to internal Eskom processes, effectively shielding the nuclear deal from direct parliamentary oversight.
- A nuclear deal not directly subject to parliamentary oversight will cost more and be subject to greater levels of corruption, in the same way as Kusile and Medupi have been with regard to their association with Hitachi.
- While tax payers will not be directly liable for the build costs of the new build programme – like the costs of Kusile and Medupi – they will be passed onto consumers via higher electricity prices. Higher energy costs will kill economic growth and jobs.
“Far from providing much needed clarity and assurance, the Minister has created greater uncertainty and has all but ensured that Zuma and his cronies will enrich themselves at South Africa’s expense,” the DA’s energy lead said. http://businesstech.co.za/news/energy/139651/eskom-will-finance-south-africas-r1-trillion-nuclear-plans-minister/
We who advocate renewable energy systems, and new technologies need to be aware of the dangers of the mining and processing of rare metals such as lithium. The history of this industry is scandalous. AFP: China pays price for world’s rare earths addiction. But today, the exploitation of lithium miners continues.
THE COBALT PIPELINE Tracing the path from deadly hand-dug mines in Congo to consumers’ phones and laptops WP, by Todd C. Frankel September 30, 2016
The sun was rising over one of the richest mineral deposits on Earth, in one of the poorest countries, as Sidiki Mayamba got ready for work.
Mayamba is a cobalt miner. ….
This remote landscape in southern Africa lies at the heart of the world’s mad scramble for cheap cobalt, a mineral essential to the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power smartphones, laptops and electric vehicles made by companies such as Apple, Samsung and major automakers.
But Mayamba, 35, knew nothing about his role in this sprawling global supply chain. He grabbed his metal shovel and broken-headed hammer from a corner of the room he shares with his wife and child. He pulled on a dust-stained jacket. A proud man, he likes to wear a button-down shirt even to mine. And he planned to mine by hand all day and through the night. He would nap in the underground tunnels. No industrial tools. Not even a hard hat. The risk of a cave-in is constant……
The world’s soaring demand for cobalt is at times met by workers, including children, who labor in harsh and dangerous conditions. An estimated 100,000 cobalt miners in Congo use hand tools to dig hundreds of feet underground with little oversight and few safety measures, according to workers, government officials and evidence found by The Washington Post during visits to remote mines. Deaths and injuries are common. And the mining activity exposes local communities to levels of toxic metals that appear to be linked to ailments that include breathing problems and birth defects, health officials say.
The Post traced this cobalt pipeline and, for the first time, showed how cobalt mined in these harsh conditions ends up in popular consumer products. It moves from small-scale Congolese mines to a single Chinese company — Congo DongFang International Mining, part of one of the world’s biggest cobalt producers, Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt — that for years has supplied some of the world’s largest battery makers. They, in turn, have produced the batteries found inside products such as Apple’s iPhones — a finding that calls into question corporate assertions that they are capable of monitoring their supply chains for human rights abuses or child labor.
Apple, in response to questions from The Post, acknowledged that this cobalt has made its way into its batteries…….
Few companies regularly track where their cobalt comes from. Following the path from mine to finished product is difficult but possible, The Post discovered. Armed guards block access to many of Congo’s mines. The cobalt then passes through several companies and travels thousands of miles.
Yet 60 percent of the world’s cobalt originates in Congo — a chaotic country rife with corruption and a long history of foreign exploitation of its natural resources…..
In the past year, a Dutch advocacy group called the Center for Research on Multinational Corporations, known as SOMO, and Amnesty International have put out reports alleging improprieties including forced relocations of villages and water pollution. Amnesty’s report, which accused Congo DongFang of buying materials mined by children, prompted a fresh wave of companies to promise that their cobalt connections were being vetted.
But the problems remained starkly evident when Post journalists visited mining operations in Congo this summer. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/business/batteries/congo-cobalt-mining-for-lithium-ion-battery/
Uranium Mining in Niger: Tuareg Activist Takes on French Nuclear Company,Spiegel.de By Cordula Meyer Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan, 2 Oct 16
Part 2: Life in the Vicinity of the Uranium Mines “……A massive hill, made up of 35 millions tons of waste material from the mine, is visible from the northwestern edge of Arlit. Although the uranium has already been extracted from the material, it retains 85 percent of its radiation, stemming from substances like radium and thorium, which have half-lives measured in thousands of years. The waste material lies there, uncovered, exposed to the desert winds. Residents grow tomatoes and lettuce between the waste dump and the city…….
Some 2,200 people work there. In the plant, workers break apart large pieces of rock, grind them into dust and then leach out the uranium using large amounts of water and acid. The end product is a yellow material known as yellowcake. The yellowcake is filled into barrels and then transported in convoys to Benin, 2,500 kilometers (1,560 miles) away. From there, the yellowcake is loaded onto ships bound for Marseilles.
Radioactive Dust Alhacen is a member of the Agir tribe in the Aïr Mountains. His father led camel caravans carrying salt and dates. Alhacen accompanied his father for the first time when he was 11. He began working in the mine about 10 years later, in 1978. His job was to repair the machines that crush the rock. Every evening, he would go home to his family and play with his children, still wearing his dusty work overalls. His wife washed his clothes, which were full of radioactive dust.
The first time Alhacen heard about radiation was in 1986, after the Chernobyl reactor accident. From then on, he was given a paper respiratory mask to wear. Eight years later, a lung ailment forced him to stop working. He was transferred to a new department that handled radiation protection. He is still officially employed there today, but the company has relieved him of his duties. “His suspensions were justified by his inappropriate conduct (unjustified absence etc…),” Areva told SPIEGEL in a statement. Alhacen is worried about his job, because he needs the income for his 13 children. But being furloughed also means that he has more time for his fight, and for the victims.
He now has time, for example, to visit the widow Fatima Taoka in her mud-walled house. Her husband Mamadou worked in the mine, where he drilled the rock into smaller pieces, until he fell ill. “He was always strong, but then he had nothing but pain and became as thin as a stick,” says Fatima. It was something in the lungs and kidneys, she says, but the people at the hospital did not tell her what exactly it was.
“It was because of the dust,” she says. “There was something evil in the dust.” Fatima doesn’t know what radioactivity is. Her husband died in 1999, the same year several of Alhacen’s coworkers died. Most of them had jobs that involved working around dust.
‘The Doctors Don’t Tell the Truth’
“They died of diseases that we didn’t understand,” says Alhacen. He says that when he asked hospital staff what had killed his coworkers, he didn’t receive an answer. Sometimes, he says, the doctors said it was AIDS, but this made Alhacen suspicious, because Niger had a low incidence of AIDS. The fact that the hospital belongs to Areva also made him suspicious. It was when Mamadou died that Alhacen decided to set up Aghirin Man.
That was 10 years ago. Since then, he has repeatedly heard accounts of ailments that resemble what happened to Mamadou. While making his rounds, he also visits Amalhe Algabit. The former assistant surveyor still has his I.D. card, coated in plastic, with the number 1328. His chest hurts, and he hides his emaciated body in a white robe and his collapsed face behind a pair of large sunglasses. He often feels as if he were suffocating. He doesn’t know why this is happening to him, but is afraid that he doesn’t have much time left. “I’m already so thin,” he says.
Rakia Agouma is a widow whose husband died on Sept. 23, 2009. For 31 years, he had driven trucks containing rocks in the mine. Three years before his death, he had severe pain in his chest and back, but tried to remain in good spirits. It was what Rakia had always liked about him. When he died at Areva’s hospital, she was apparently told it was malaria. “The doctors don’t tell the truth,” she says. “They’re liars.”
Areva says that everyone in Arlit and Akokan receives free medical treatment, even former workers. The company also claims that not a single worker has died of occupational cancer……….
Areva insists that it has satisfied the highest international standards for maximum radiation doses since 2002. Joseph Brehan, a Paris attorney, says: “The improvements aren’t that significant.” He recently traveled to Arlit to meet with his client, Almoustapha Alhacen. Last year, Areva signed an agreement that authorizes Sherpa to examine the working conditions in the mines. In return, Sherpa must coordinate its activities with Areva. Together they intend to introduce a comprehensive health monitoring system.
Physicist Bruno Chareyron and Alhacen believe that Sherpa has made a deal with the devil.
Depending on Areva
This is the problem with a powerful corporation. Criirad, Aghirin Man and Sherpa are small organizations that survive on donations. Even Alhacen is a critic that Areva can still tolerate, because he too has arguably made a deal with the devil. He still works for Areva. The company has furloughed him, but he still lives rent-free in a house owned by Areva and known as RA4, No. 6. The house has four rooms, and there are four goats in a shed in the inner courtyard. By Arlit standards, Alhacen is a prosperous man. “If I lose the job, I have to get out of the house — right away.”
There is no other place to work in Arlit than in the plant. Arlit is Areva. And even a critic like Alhacen depends on Areva……….http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/uranium-mining-in-niger-tuareg-activist-takes-on-french-nuclear-company-a-686774-2.html
South Africa: Nuke RFP Delayed in Order to Give Eskom Greater Say and Avoid Parliamentary Scrutiny http://allafrica.com/stories/201609300697.html By Gordon Mackay, 30 Sep 16 At a cabinet briefing today, Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe, confirmed that it was highly unlikely that the nuclear RFP would be issued tomorrow as announced by the Minister of Energy, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, three weeks ago in Parliament.
Minister Radebe also suggested that the delay in issuing the RFP is largely due to a decision by cabinet to strip the Department of Energy of its role as government’s designated procurement agent in favour of Eskom.
This must be seen for what it is – a blatant attempt by the Zuma administration to:
- side-line parliamentary oversight of the nuclear new build programme;
- block public debate on the need for additional nuclear capacity;
- create a veil of secrecy around the procurement process which would now be subject to internal Eskom processes and procedures;
- give President Jacob Zuma greater control of the nuclear procurement process.
Designating Eskom as the procuring agent of the state will fundamentally limit the role and capacity of Parliament to oversee the nuclear deal and, in doing so, increase the potential of corruption surrounding the trillion rand deal.
The DA rejects any attempt to designate Eskom, headed by CEO and Zupta buddy, Brian Molefe, as the procuring agent for nuclear. Eskom has proven with Medupi and Kusile that it is unfit to manage mega-projects. It has also proven that its governance procedures are lax and the Supreme Court of Appeal has found its Board Tender Committee to be corrupt.
The DA is further concerned that the nuclear new build programme will further be subject to undue influence by the President, who is the Chair of the SOE Co-ordinating Committee.
We will use every mechanism available to us to ensure that this deal – which we do not need and cannot afford – is not pushed through without proper parliamentary oversight and scrutiny.
Signs of a great rift over Zuma’s nuclear programme, Rand Daily Mail, RAY HARTLEY 30 SEPTEMBER 2016 In another indication of President Jacob Zuma’s dimishing influence, his headlong rush to build a ‘fleet’ of nuclear reactors has been halted. And there are signs that it is going to be cut down to size, if it goes ahead at all.
This has drawn attention to South Africa’s status as a global model for renewable energy, and raises new question about why the country is pursuing nuclear when renewables look so promising.
South Africa has the fastest growing green economy in the world, according to credit rating agency Moody’s.
“South Africa was the continent’s largest renewables market in 2015 in terms of asset finance for utility-scale projects and it saw the highest year-on-year growth globally,” said Christopher Bredholt, a Moody’s vice president, in a Sept. 16 report. Asset finance is usually used by businesses to lease equipment without having to buy it outright, according to Finance & Leasing Association.
South Africa had the highest growth globally for asset finance in 2015 at 300 percent, representing $4.5 billion, according to Moody’s.
South Africa: Nuclear Plan On Ice As Eskom May Take Ownership AllAfrica.com 30 Sept 16 Early indications are that Eskom may ultimately be responsible for the management and implementation of South Africa’s nuclear plan and not the Department of Energy as had originally been planned.
At the same time the much anticipated request for proposal for the nuclear plan won’t be issued on Friday as mooted by Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson earlier this month.
Jeff Radebe, Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning and Monitoring, reiterated at a cabinet briefing on Thursday that more consultations need to take place before a request for proposal (RFP) can be issued on 30 September 2016.
Joemat-Pettersson issued a statement a few hours after Radebe’s briefing, confirming this………..
At the time of the previous cabinet meeting on the issue of nuclear in December 2015, nuclear was going to be led by Energy,” Radebe said during question time on Thursday.
“But recently there are references made to Eskom. That’s why I’m talking about issues of consultation. Those types of consultations must unfold before the RFP is issued. The instituting authority must be clearly defined.”
State-owned nuclear firm Necsa could also play a bigger role in the process. “Necsa has had discussions with government officials and Eskom – and there are clear indications that Necsa will play a major role as the primary nuclear centre of the country,” Necsa chair Kelvin Kemm told Fin24 on Thursday.
Asked during question time if he meant that Eskom instead of the DoE would be driving South Africa’s nuclear build programme, Radebe responded, saying when cabinet previously deliberated on the nuclear process in December 2015, the decision was that the Department of Energy would be driving the process. “If there is a change it will have to come back to cabinet for deliberation,” he said.
Radebe also repeated that the RFP would not be issued on Friday, despite previous assertions by Joemat-
Pettersson that the RFP was due for Friday. “There was no contradiction,” Radebe said with reference to Pandor’s statement on Tuesday.
“My understanding is that what minister Pandor was saying, due to the processes of consultation [and the fact that] processes had not completed, the RFP will only be issued after all those issues of consultation have been concluded and being brought back to cabinet. So I do not envisage that tomorrow on the 30 of September the RFP will be issued by the Department of Energy,” Radebe said.Source: Fin24 http://allafrica.com/stories/201609300935.html
NO DEALS SIGNED YET ON SA NUCLEAR PROGRAMME – RADEBE http://ewn.co.za/2016/09/30/No-deals-signed-yet-on-SA-nuclear-programme Minister Jeff Radebe says the request for proposals will clarify if the country can afford nuclear power.Clement Manyathela | JOHANNESBURG – Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe says no deals have been signed for the nuclear build programme and says the request for proposals will clarify if the country can afford it or not.
Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Petterssen was meant to issue a request for proposals for the nuclear build programme as part of the procurement process today but this has now been postponed to allow more time for further consultation.
Radebe says the request for proposal will be issued after consultations.
“The Minister of Energy issued a statement confirming that the request for proposals is not going to be issued until such time that we’ve concluded those consultation processes.”
He says it will also advise government on whether or not it can afford nuclear power.
“That’s precisely the reason why the proposal is going to be issued in order to understand whether, as the country, we’re going to be affording it in terms of testing the market.”
Climate change is increasing the risk of war in Africa , Quartz, 30 Sept 16
United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon once described the war in Darfur, Sudan as the world’s first climate change conflict
, caused in part by the fighting over scarce water resources. Now, researchers believe climate change may be raising the risk of war across the continent.
In a study
published in Science
this week, researchers Tamma Carleton and Solomon Hsiang, both from the University of Berkeley, say that rising temperatures in sub-Saharan Africa since 1980 have raised the risk of conflict by 11%.
“Although climate is clearly not the only factor that affects social and economic outcomes, new quantitative measurements reveal that it is a major factor, often with first order consequences,” they wrote
in their study, which reviewed more than 100 other studies on the social and economic impacts of climate change.
South Africa will delay tendering for new nuclear power stations after requests for consultation and discussion made it impossible to start the process by the end of September as initially planned, the energy minister said on Thursday.
A statement said energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson remained “fully committed” to plans for nuclear procurement. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-safrica-nuclear-idUSKCN11Z1SW
Eskom may take charge of SA’s nuclear power build, IOL 29 September 2016, Emsie Ferreira Cape Town – Government will not be issuing a call for proposals for its nuclear power expansion programme to allow for more time for consultations, which could mean shifting responsibility for the project from the department of energy to Eskom, Presidency Minister Jeff Radebe confirmed on Thursday……..
Radebe was asked about conflicting statements from Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and her science and technology counterpart, Naledi Pandor, as to whether the request for proposals from prospective partners would still proceed as planned on Friday.
Pandor this week indicated it would not, contradicting the energy minister.
But Radebe confirmed that government could not invite proposals while an integrated resource plan had not been finalised, and that Pandor had been right in saying Cabinet’s economic cluster first needed to meet to do so.
Eskom chief executive officer Brian Molefe last week told MPs and the media that concerns about whether the country could afford procuring the capacity to add 9,600 megawatt of nuclear energy to the grid were overwrought.
He said given the roughly 80-year lifespan of nuclear plants, the programme would pay for itself over those decades. Molefe was adamant that renewable energy could not be considered a viable alternative as it was not sufficiently reliable.
And earlier this week, Eskom’s head of generation Matshela Koko suggested that the nuclear utility could pay for the nuclear build programme because it would have accumulate cash reserves of R150 billion over the next decade.
The Democratic Alliance said on Thursday that allowing Eskom to lead the process would mean it being less open to parliamentary scrutiny, and President Jacob Zuma having greater control over the procurement process.
“Designating Eskom as the procuring agent of the state will fundamentally limit the role and capacity of Parliament to oversee the nuclear deal and, in doing so, increase the potential of corruption surrounding the trillion rand deal,” DA energy spokesman Gordon Mackay said. http://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/eskom-may-take-charge-of-sas-nuclear-power-build-2074416