Editorials 15.7.2015 02:00 pm

Trust issues with SA’s nuke deal

FILE PICTURE: An aerial view of South Africa's Koeberg Nuclear Power Station, 30km north of Cape Town. Picture: Die Burger/Esa Alexander/Gallo Images

FILE PICTURE: An aerial view of South Africa's Koeberg Nuclear Power Station, 30km north of Cape Town. Picture: Die Burger/Esa Alexander/Gallo Images

The process to determine who will become SA’s strategic partner(s) in the nuclear build programme will start within the next month, the energy department said yesterday.

Eskom would not be involved in this process – and that is a blessing. Except that it will be run by government, which opens up another can of worms.

South Africa needs energy and the country says it aims to have almost a quarter of its grid run by nuclear power by 2030.

Government has been playing its cards close to its chest, which it says protects its leverage in negotiations, while the cost, too, is being kept behind closed doors.

This is all good and well, but the reputation of government as a whole, spread across various departments, does not bode well for public confidence. The potential for kickbacks and dodgy contracts in the building of these nuclear plants is huge and despite the potential – and hopefully avoidable – theft of taxpayers’ money, anything poorly constructed around nuclear power gives us the chills.

 

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