Court stalls SA nuclear plans - TechCentral

Court stalls SA nuclear plans

South Africa hasn’t complied with the constitution in seeking bidders for a nuclear energy programme and must cancel any deals that have already been signed, the Western Cape high court ruled.

The government must hold public hearings and debate the estimated R1 trillion programme in parliament, according to a ruling read out on Wednesday by judge Lee Bozalek in a case brought by civil-society groups Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute.

Agreements set aside included those with Russia, the US and South Korea.

“The process by which the nuclear build programme is proceeding on is unconstitutional” and any request for proposals or requests for information regarding the plans should be set aside, the ruling said.

State power utility Eskom notes the judgment, spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said on Twitter. “We’ll study the ruling and, if need be, Eskom will make comments thereafter.”

South Africa’s nuclear investment plans have become a focal point for critics of President Jacob Zuma’s policies, with opposition parties and civil-society groups questioning the use of funds even before S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings downgraded the nation’s international credit rating to junk. The affordability of the new plants was a key point of dispute between Zuma and former finance minister Pravin Gordhan.

Eskom started its process to build 9,6GW of nuclear power capacity by issuing a request for information from vendors in December, with a closing date for responses of 28 April.  — (c) 2017 Bloomberg LP

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