Remedies are needed now

Time has come for the clueless and opaque bureaucrats at the National Nuclear Regulator to close the shutters and hand their responsibilities to someone who can do the job.

Time has come for the clueless and opaque bureaucrats at the National Nuclear Regulator to close the shutters and hand their responsibilities to someone who can do the job.

The regulator is charged with protecting people, property and the environment from nuclear damage. Not only have the incumbents and their predecessors failed dismally, they seem clueless on how to go about their job.

Ever more reports are emerging that show we are being poisoned by radioactive uranium from our gold mines. For 120 years this by-product of gold ore has infiltrated waterways, groundwater and agricultural lands.

Though the agency's own studies show that foodstuffs from oats to beef and milk are contaminated by radioactivity way beyond international limits, chief executive Maurice Magugumela yesterday blandly assured the public they have nothing to worry about.

But he announced yet more task teams and committees to study the problem and suggest remedies. All that is long overdue, but the public cannot be expected to fall for this legerdemain any longer.

Hundreds of thousands of South Africans are exposed to unreasonable health risks today. We need leadership and transparency to identify the problems, name the guilty and institute remedies now.

The NNR has failed to do so and can no longer be trusted to protect our interests.

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