Category Archives: Parliament

includes Parliamentary Standing Comms, Bills, Legislation,etc

The South African government hasn’t given up the fight for nuclear

Hartmut Winkler, Professor of Physics, University of Johannesburg, in The Conversation, 17 May, 2017.

Nuclear energy in South Africa is a highly contested issue; so much so that a court recently ruled against the government’s plans to issue a contract for the construction of eight new nuclear power stations.

The ruling appeared to have delivered a significant blow to President Jacob Zuma, and those who support him, who had set their sights on immediate nuclear expansion. The court’s decision was met with jubilation by those opposing the nuclear plan.

The expectation was that the government would appeal the decision. It didn’t, but this shouldn’t be read as a shift in its thinking.

Minister of Energy Nkhensani Kubayi made it clear after the court ruling that, while there would be no appeal, the government remained fully committed to nuclear expansion, and was planning to initiate a new process without delay.

This signals a realisation by government that an appeal would have little chance of success, and that a lengthy court process would tie up the parties in legal cases for months or even years. This would delay a nuclear build even further.

The minister has made it clear that the government is not giving up on its push for the controversial nuclear plan. But it has realised the process must start from scratch. This is the clearest indication yet that Zuma intends launching the nuclear build before his term of office ends in 2019.

Adding to fears that the government isn’t giving up the fight was the surprise reinstatement of Brian Molefe as CEO of the country’s power utility Eskom. Molefe left the job under a cloud six months ago. His reappointment led to immediate and widespread public outrage. Many have interpreted his return as beefing up the quest for nuclear.

Molefe’s return, however, isn’t as critical to the nuclear project as imagined, as Eskom has maintained his pro-nuclear stance in his absence.

What’s more important is that it’s clear that contestation around the future of South Africa’s energy sector will continue unabated. This despite the president having been severely weakened in recent months, and with it the power of the pro-nuclear lobby supported by his faction.

And here is the original in The Conversation

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and renewable energy

Bishop Geoff Davies, in the Daily Maverick, 9 February, 2017.

So-called developed countries are doing their best to move away from both coal and nuclear energy, with huge investment in developing renewable energy. South Africa, we had hoped, would have become a manufacturing hub for renewable energy in Africa.

“We mustn’t listen to those who say we must only use renewable energy,” said aspiring president Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at a church gathering this past weekend. No developed country uses only renewable energy, there must be a mix, she said.

It is highly unfortunate that our political leaders are so poorly informed about energy developments – or are they so well informed about the financial benefits to be gained through the procurement of nuclear energy that they support nuclear energy at all costs?

There are such dramatic developments taking place in electricity storage, and equally dramatic reduction in costs, that long before a nuclear power station could be built, renewable energy will be far cheaper, safer and more accessible to the people of South Africa than nuclear-generated electricity delivered through a centralised grid could ever be.

 

Here is the full article

Public-private partnership bridge energy gap – Ramaphosa

ESI Africa, 19 January, 2017.

South Africa’s Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, advises countries to consider a partnership between government and the private sector in order to bridge the energy gap.

Ramaphosa was speaking during a panel discussion about bridging the energy gap in Africa by 2030 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday, Fin24 reported.

According to the media, the deputy president is leading the South African delegation in Davos, themed “Responsive and Responsible Leadership”.

Among other ministers attending the seminar is finance minister Pravin Gordhan, minister of trade and industry Rob Davies and minister of economic development Ebrahim Patel.

Energy gap in Africa

Media reported that Ramaphosa recommended that in order for Africa to improve energy access, governments should look at getting the private sector to partner with them and eventually reach a point where the private sector generates power independently.

He said: “In South Africa we have seen the effectiveness of involving the private sector to set up independent power projects.”

The partnership is said to have resulted in nearly ZAR194 billion ($14 billion) worth of investments and 2,500MW of power generation, which presented the private sector an opportunity to generate power independently.

IPP programme

According to Fin24, Ramaphosa told the delegates that the South African IPP programme was established when government realised it could not bridge the electricity gap alone.

“We needed to bring in new technology and those with better reach for technology were in the private sector,” the deputy president stated.

He explained that the private sector is capable of raising funding and use their networks to acquire technologies, media reported.

As a result, a special unit was set up within the Department of Energy, which developed a policy to evaluate the IPP proposals. He applauded the robustness of the regulations in place.

“We had a huge number of proposals that came in because the private sector realised the government was serious about increasing energy supply in the country and that we wanted to move towards renewable energy and smart energy,” Ramaphosa said.

He added: “The private sector had a key role in sharpening government’s capability in this regard. We came out strong on renewable energy.”

Here is the article.

Those without integrity must be held accountable

SAFCEI and EarthLife Africa, 14 November 2016               

Press release

Those without integrity must be held accountable

One month after the Public Protector’s State Capture report was released, the fallout continues. This last week has seen interesting revelations, rumours and counters, with a good dose of threats.

SAFCEI welcomes Brian Molefe’s resignation as one step on the road to accountable government.  Mr Molefe ruled Eskom at a time that saw the parastatal accept the role of nuclear procurer, and his statements against renewable energy were seen to have undermined the government’s renewable energy programme.

However, the Public Protector clearly articulated that various Eskom board members, including the Chairperson, have a conflict of interest, and are still there.  According to section 5.73, “The board of Eskom appointed in December 2014 consisted predominately of individuals with direct and indirect business or personal relations with Mr D. Zuma, the Gupta family and their related associates, including Mr Essa.

 “We cannot have Mr Molefe be the sacrificial goat, after which Eskom continues with business as usual”, stated SAFCEI Executive Director, Venerable Ani Tsondru. “All of the board and any other officials must come under scrutiny and should be held accountable for their actions.  And we want to see Mr Molefe answer to the findings made against him, and not disappear and then reappear into another position of influence”.

Media reports over the weekend indicate that Members of Parliament are under pressure to support the President at all costs.  Reflecting on these reports, SAFCEI’s Liz McDaid stated, that “MPs should speak out against unethical behaviour and not be intimidated by senior politicians who seem to have forgotten that they are accountable to the people of South Africa.”

SAFCEI and Earthlife Africa JHB will be in the Cape Town High Court on 13th and 14th December 2016, challenging the government’s nuclear deal with Russia, as well as the decision of government to procure a fleet of nuclear reactors (which was made in 2013 and kept secret for two years).

“South Africa does not need politicians who seek self-enrichment at the expense of the needs of the people”, stated Earthlife Africa JHB’s Dominique Doyle.

Having an open and transparent procurement process is vital to protect the people of South Africa now and in the future from undue influence, and to guard against the nuclear deal being pushed through for the wrong reasons, with the potential to bankrupt the country.

Earthlife Africa JHB and SAFCEI contend that this court case is about the requirements for lawful, procedurally fair, rational, statutory and constitutional decision making, in relation to the particular decision by the South Africa government to procure nuclear power under a specific legislative scheme. Issues at stake are: The distinction between policy and statutory determinations; the constitutionality and lawfulness of the 2013 s34 Determination; The unconstitutional signature and tabling of the Russian IGA; and the unconstitutional tabling of the US and South Korean IGAs.

Ends.

For further information, please contact

Ms Liziwe McDaid (SAFCEI)                               Ms Dominique Doyle (ELA-Jhb)   

Email: liziwe@mweb.co.za   Cell: 082 731 5643           email: dominique@earthlife.org.za  cell: 079 331 2028  

Sham public consultation

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.

Here is the full article