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New energy minister will not appeal nuke judgment

By Thabo Mokone | 2017-05-13 12:55:02.0

New energy minister Mmamoloko Kubayi has resolved not to challenge a Western Cape High ruling that has put the brakes on the government’s controversial nuclear build programme.

Speaking at a media briefing on Saturday morning‚ Kubayi said her energy department has decided not to appeal the Western Cape High court ruling that found that the department flouted rules and the constitution when it issued proposals or requests for information related the nuclear build programme without following proper process.

But she said this did not necessarily mean that they agreed with the judgment in its entirety.

“We accept that as a department there are things that we could have done better‚ but we think that the judgment‚ in certain areas has gone beyond what it should have done.

“On certain parts it was as if the judgment was based on public opinion‚ not on the law‚ that I think I need to go on record on. The fact that we’re not appealing does not mean we agree with the judgment hundred percent‚ we don’t. We do not agree with the view that we’ve failed the nation as a department‚” said Kubayi.

The court last month set aside government’s intergovermental agreements with Russia‚ the United States and South Korea related to the nuclear deal‚ finding them to be unconstitutional and unlawful following a court application by anti-nuclear lobby groups.

The agreements were tabled in parliament by axed energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson without parliamentary approval or public participation.

Kubayi said her department would negotiate new intergovernmental agreements with five countries — China‚ France‚ Russia‚ the United States and South Korea — and they would be fully transparent and involve parliament in every step this time around.

Government wants to build nuclear power plants that would add 9600MW to the national grid but critics of the programme objected to this‚ saying it was simply unaffordable for the country as it was projected to cost more than R1-trillion.

Kubayi said while they were not appealing‚ government was still forging ahead with plans to build nuclear power plants.

“Whether we do it today or tomorrow‚ there’s a need for nuclear because of its ability to help us with meeting our obligations of 2020 of reducing carbon emissions by 34%‚ its ability to generate the levels of energy that we need‚” she said.

She said they were aiming to finalise the public participation process on the new intergovermental agreements by the first quarter of 2018.


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