Radebe un­der fire over nu­clear en­ergy

The Mercury - - NEWS - Siyabonga Mkhwanazi

EN­ERGY Min­is­ter Jeff Radebe has come un­der fire in Par­lia­ment, with op­po­si­tion par­ties call­ing for him to come clean on whether the nu­clear deal is in­deed off the ta­ble.

They de­manded that the govern­ment halt any nu­clear plans.

This comes af­ter Radebe ear­lier said that nu­clear was still part of the govern­ment’s en­ergy mix, but that this would be de­ter­mined by the re­vised In­te­grated Re­source Plan (IRP) that is to be un­veiled in Au­gust.

But op­po­si­tion par­ties yes­ter­day were hav­ing none of it, and said nu­clear en­ergy plans had to be stopped in their tracks.

The chair­man of the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on en­ergy, Fik­ile Ma­jola, said the re­vised IRP was needed to bring cer­tainty to the mar­ket.

He said Radebe had to present the re­vised IRP to the com­mit­tee by the fourth quar­ter of the year.

The DA’s Than­deka Gqada said the govern­ment’s nu­clear plans had been mired in con­tro­versy, with the Gup­tas and the Rus­sians in the mix for years. She said they wanted the govern­ment to stop send­ing mixed mes­sages and halt the process.

Gqada said Radebe had promised to ad­dress some of the is­sues raised on nu­clear en­ergy. “What the min­is­ter has failed to an­swer to the com­mit­tee is whether the govern­ment will pur­sue nu­clear?” said Gqada. The EFF’s Khonziwe Hlonyana said the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the nu­clear deal would lead to the loot­ing of state cof­fers on an in­dus­trial scale.

It has been es­ti­mated that nu­clear en­ergy would cost more than R1tril­lion, but the govern­ment has not con­firmed the ac­tual cost. It has said that the cost would de­pend on the nu­clear bid­ding process.

Cope deputy leader Wil­lie Madisha said the split­ting of the Depart­ment of En­ergy and Min­eral Re­sources by for­mer pres­i­dent Jacob Zuma nine years ago was to re-pur­pose it for the nu­clear deal with the Rus­sians.

“We want to thank Makoma Lekalala and Liz McDaid (of Earth­life Africa) for de­lay­ing the nu­clear deal. We want you, Min­is­ter, to state if the nu­clear deal is off the ta­ble, and if so, why?” said Madisha.

Earth­life Africa took the govern­ment to court to halt the nu­clear deal, lead­ing to the Depart­ment of En­ergy hav­ing to stop any pro­cure­ment pro­cesses.

JEFF RADEBE

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