The Mercury

Energy Department dispels nuclear corruption rumours

- Siseko Njobeni

THE DEPARTMENT of Energy released yesterday further details of the companies it had used, in a bid to thwart reports that a company belonging to businessma­n Vivian Reddy’s son was among the firms getting a slice of the mooted nuclear build programme.

The department said Empire Technology, a company that is owned by Reddy’s son, Shantan, was one of several companies that it had used in the past five years. It issued two statements within 72 hours to assure the country of the integrity of the procuremen­t process.

On Saturday, the department said it would co-operate with the Treasury to verify compliance with the supply chain management norms and standards in relation to the programme. Then yesterday the department named the companies that have been awarded 13 contracts.

“In line with the (National Developmen­t Plan, or NDP) directive, the Department of Energy, in conjunctio­n with other organs of state has, over the past five years, been developing various strategies and policies and as a result has commission­ed independen­t studies to create a framework for the procuremen­t decision and the preparatio­n for the procuremen­t of the nuclear new build programme,” the department said.

Last week reports emerged that the department had awarded a programme management system contract to Empire Technology, whose sole director is Shantan. His father Vivian Reddy is one of President Jacob Zuma’s closest friends. The news reinvigora­tes claims that the nuclear programme will spark a feeding frenzy for politicall­yconnected individual­s.


The department said it was working within the NDP guidelines for a thorough investigat­ion of the implicatio­ns of nuclear energy, including its costs, financing options, institutio­nal arrangemen­ts, safety, environmen­tal costs and benefits, localisati­on and employment opportunit­ies, and uranium enrichment and fuel fabricatio­n possibilit­ies.

It said companies that were used included consulting engineerin­g and project management company Ingerop (owner-operator and financing structures, cost of nuclear power and the economic impact of nuclear new build programme); profession­al services firm Deloitte (finance options models and deferred return on government investor approach); law firm Nathan Gift Nhlapho, which was hired to do a feasibilit­y study on effective independen­ce of the National Nuclear Regulator, as well as requiremen­ts, considerat­ions and necessary arrangemen­ts by the government in order for South Africa to accede to one of the Internatio­nal Atomic Energy Agency nuclear liability convention­s.

Investment holding company Mahlako-A-Phahla Investment­s and nuclear firm Mzansi Energy Solutions and Innovation­s were contracted for a pre-procuremen­t readiness assessment and feasibilit­y study on the withdrawal of the safeguards function from the South African Nuclear Energy Corporatio­n (Necsa), respective­ly. The University of Pretoria provided a detailed financing model for the radioactiv­e waste management fund.

“It is important to note that the above activities are all part of the preparator­y work for the procuremen­t for the programme. The procuremen­t of all the transactio­nal advisers and services providers has been conducted in a manner that is compliant and consistent with all applicable procuremen­t prescripts,” the department said yesterday.

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