Save SA asks Cab­i­net to scrap nu­clear talks

CityPress - - Business -

Dur­ing a spe­cial meet­ing in Par­lia­ment on Wed­nes­day, civil so­ci­ety cam­paign Save SA asked Cab­i­net not to make any de­ci­sions on the pro­posed nu­clear power pro­cure­ment process.

A “crit­i­cal” two-day Cab­i­net meet­ing on state-owned en­ter­prises be­gan in Cape Town on Tues­day.

Save SA con­vener and An­gloGold Ashanti chair­per­son Sipho Pityana on Tues­day wrote to Cab­i­net min­is­ters, plead­ing with them to refuse to dis­cuss the fate of the nu­clear deal.

“We un­der­stand that Cab­i­net is to con­sider some as­pects of the pro­posed nu­clear power pro­cure­ment process, in­clud­ing vest­ing Eskom with the au­thor­ity to lead the process.”

He asked them not to dis­cuss the mat­ter for the fol­low­ing rea­sons:

The Con­sti­tu­tion re­quires that any pub­lic pro­cure­ment be fair, equitable, trans­par­ent, com­pet­i­tive and cost-ef­fec­tive;

There is enor­mous un­cer­tainty about the in­tegrity and gov­er­nance of im­por­tant pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions at the mo­ment, in­clud­ing Eskom;

There have been wide­spread calls to pro­tect Na­tional Trea­sury from po­ten­tial “state cap­ture” by those with a di­rect or in­di­rect in­ter­est in the out­come of the nu­clear en­ergy pro­cure­ment process, in­clud­ing the Gupta fam­ily;

To re­move au­thor­ity from Trea­sury and the rel­e­vant min­istries would be un­wise;

It is far from clear whether South Africa needs or can af­ford to pro­cure nu­clear en­ergy;

There is con­fu­sion and opac­ity about the fund­ing of the pro­cure­ment; and

Pro­ceed­ing with the pro­cure­ment process, es­pe­cially if led by Eskom, could have dis­as­trous con­se­quences for the econ­omy and for the poor­est mem­bers of so­ci­ety.

“Na­tional Trea­sury has re­peat­edly said that pro­cure­ment should only pro­ceed if the coun­try can af­ford it,” Pityana said.

“As far as the pub­lic is aware, no af­ford­abil­ity study has been com­pleted – cer­tainly not one that has been pub­lished.

“We call upon you, as a mem­ber of Cab­i­net, to re­spect your re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to the Con­sti­tu­tion and the peo­ple of South Africa.”

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma was crit­i­cised in Septem­ber when Cab­i­net an­nounced he would lead a pres­i­den­tial state-owned en­ter­prises co­or­di­nat­ing coun­cil. It was seen as an at­tempt to re­move the over­sight of these en­ti­ties from Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa.

Zuma said there was “noth­ing sinister” about the es­tab­lish­ment of the coun­cil, and that such spec­u­la­tion was base­less and false.

– Bloomberg

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