In an affidavit submitted to the court‚ Earthlife Africa argues that government’s agreement with Russia to supply South Africa with multiple nuclear power plants is both unlawful and unconstitutional.
The procurement deal would be the largest in the country’s history at an estimated R1-trillion‚ and would see the building of a “nuclear fleet” that would generate nearly 10GW of power.
In September 2014‚ Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson signed an agreement with Russia on strategic partnership and cooperation in the fields of nuclear power and industry‚ which was then authorised by President Jacob Zuma.
The agreement was tabled before Parliament in June 2015.
In the affidavit‚ Earthlife branch coordinator Phillipine Lekalakala stated that the deal was unlawful‚ and should be reviewed and set aside.
“The decision to proceed with procuring these nuclear power plants… has occurred without any of the necessary statutory and constitutional decisions having been lawfully taken‚” said Lekalakala.
“The minister and the National Energy Regulator of SA were obligated to have determined that new generation capacity is required and that the electricity must be generated from nuclear power in terms of the Energy Regulations Act (ERA).”
“No ERA requirement decision or ERA nuclear procurement system decision has been taken.”
The state opposed the application saying that the nuclear programme was a policy direction adopted by government to establish a self-sufficient nuclear industry for the industrialisation and development of the country.
The deputy director-general of the Department of Energy‚ Zizamele Mbambo‚ said that‚ as part of the nuclear programme‚ the energy and electricity needs of the country would be provided for.
“This policy direction allows the country to discharge its international obligation to reduce CO2 emissions from our historical fleet of coal-driven power stations‚” Mbambo said.
Earthlife and co-applicants in the matter‚ Southern African Faith Ministries’ Environment Institute‚ will be holding a demonstration outside the court on Tuesday. – TMG Digital/The Times