Business 13.5.2017 12:45 pm

Energy minister says it’s far from over for nuclear deal

Members of Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute and other organisations celebrate in the rain outside the Western Cape High Court after it ruled against governments proposed nuclear deal in Cape Town, South Africa, 26 April 2017. Judge Lee Bozalek found in favour of Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute that government had not followed due process by not first debating in Parliament its decision to procure 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear power. A proposed trillion rand deal with Russia and the US would also bankrupt the country claimed the parties.  EPA/NIC BOTHMA

Members of Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute and other organisations celebrate in the rain outside the Western Cape High Court after it ruled against governments proposed nuclear deal in Cape Town, South Africa, 26 April 2017. Judge Lee Bozalek found in favour of Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute that government had not followed due process by not first debating in Parliament its decision to procure 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear power. A proposed trillion rand deal with Russia and the US would also bankrupt the country claimed the parties. EPA/NIC BOTHMA

Government isn’t giving up – it’s just planning to make a future deal harder to challenge in court.

Though Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi will not appeal a high court decision declaring South Africa’s nuclear deal unlawful, this doesn’t mean government has given up on its nuclear build plan agreements estimated at R1 trillion.

It just means going back to the drawing board.

Briefing the media in Pretoria on Saturday morning, Kubayi said South Africa would start the process of entering into new agreements with Russia, the US, China, Russia and South Korea.

“It is important to note that there is no intention to table the current agreements, but we will embark to sign new agreements with all the five countries and table them within a reasonable time,” she said.

The Western Cape High Court last month ruled in favour of NGOs Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute.

The court found that agreements with the various countries were unlawful and unconstitutional. Public oversight and participation had been lacking.

Kubayi said while the department accepted the ruling it didn’t necessarily agree with it and “major concerns” had been raised.

“I don’t agree with the view that we have failed the nation as the department and we also don’t agree with the view that National Energy Regulator of SA has failed the nation,” she said, adding that whatever was incorrect would be corrected.

“There are things we could have done better but we think as well that the judgment in certain areas has over-reached … it has gone beyond one issue.

“It was as if the judgment was based on public opinion, not on the law.”

Kubayi said going forward she would make sure that no mistakes were made so there could be no “mistrust” or “suspicions” raised.

“I don’t want to find myself in courts every day; it’s expensive. We do not have those resources and it’s time consuming.

“I would rather have a process that is clean; that is clinical and that when it is scrutinised it can pass the test of scrutiny,” Kubayi said.

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