While we are not opposed to the concept of nuclear energy, we are definitely against this secretly signed deal with Russia and their state nuclear agency, Rosatom. There was no public participation about the need for nuclear as is required by law, nor was it even debated in parliament as is required by law. Thus we consider it to be unlawful – an opinion we share with the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute (SAFCEI) and Earthlife Africa Johannesburg (ELA) who took government to court over this very issue in October 2015. The court case is still underway and government is yet to supply the necessary paperwork to prove the legality of their decision.

Another big concern is the fact that South Africa certainly cannot afford this deal financially. It should be noted that the decision to go ahead with procurement was signed on 9 December 2015, the day that Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene was fired and replaced by Des van Rooyen, a virtually unknown backbencher. Knowing that both Nene and current Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, both consider nuclear to be an unaffordable option for SA, also sheds an interesting light on the current situation between the Presidency and Treasury.

Another fact seemingly overlooked by government, is that the rest of the world is moving away from nuclear, as renewable energy sources (sun, water and wind) has been proven to be a lot cheaper and better for the environment.

Furthermore, we do not need the 9 600 MW of energy the nuclear deal will supply, as our current demand is dwindling, another worldwide trend resulting from the increased usage of renewable sources. Once Medupi, Kusile and Ingula power plants (currently under construction) are up and running and connected to the grid, we will have more than enough energy to supply our country’s needs.

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