BDLive, 28 September, 2016.
The government’s newest plan to build nuclear plants is so far, another case of sham public consultation. It insists that the public has already been consulted. That is because back in 2010, when it drew up the now outdated integrated resource plan, public hearings were held.
Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson has refused to provide Business Day with any of the studies done to inform the procurement and has also refused the DA access to the proposal for the rollout of the nuclear build and other documents. All parties in Parliament’s energy committee have resolved to use the committee’s constitutional powers to compel the minister to produce the documents.
But predictably, the government faces another court challenge, with two civil society organisations arguing that the process is faulty. Among the grounds they are asking the court to use to set aside the procurement is the absence of public consultation.
The parties have finally, after a year of attempting to extract responses and documents out of the department, been given a court date.
For much of 2016, the government has not taken the legal challenge seriously. Last December, the Cabinet said it had decided to issue a request for proposals despite not having an updated integrated resource plan in place.
Two weeks ago, Joemat-Pettersson said the first round of tender documents would be issued on September 30.
On Tuesday, for the first time, there were rumblings from within the Cabinet that perhaps not all the procedural ducks for the nuclear build are in a row.
Naledi Pandor, the minister of science and technology, said she believed an integrated resource plan had to be done before the proposal was issued.
She is right and part of that should include genuine public consultation about nuclear energy. Without it, the government will surely have another protracted legal fight on its hands.