New Energy Minister David Mahlobo File photo: INLSA

Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance will keep a close watch for any developments on the proposed R1 trillion nuclear build deal and will not hesitate to go to court to interdict it if the process is tainted, the party said on Sunday.

"The allegations in the media [on Sunday] regarding the high-level Russian delegation who met with President Jacob Zuma shortly before the second cabinet reshuffle in seven months which saw David Mahlobo appointed as energy minister, ostensibly to push through the nuclear deal in favour of the Russians, are startling to say the least," DA spokesman Gordon Mackay said.

The previous minister of energy Mmamoloko Kubayi committed on record to abide by the Western Cape High Court’s ruling in April of this year, which declared that all requests for information (RFI) and potential RFP pursuant to the outdated integrated resource plan (IRP) and section 34 ministerial determinations were set aside with immediate effect. Mahlobo was reminded that he too was bound by the court judgment and any deviation would be illegal, Mackay said.

In order for the nuclear deal to be approved, five key pieces of legislation/regulations would have to be updated and amended, which would require parliament's participation. These were the integrated resource plan; the electricity pricing path; the procurement regulations; the framework agreements; and changes to the energy act to allow for a different funding/ownership model. In addition, the court ruling made clear the need for a substantial public participation process.

"The fact is that we cannot afford nor do we need the nuclear deal. In any event, it is doubtful that we need nuclear in the energy mix bearing in mind that by the time reactors come online green energy will be able to fill the gap sufficiently.

"The DA will be keeping a very close eye out for any such amendments and will also push for the entire process to be open and competitive. Should the details of any progress on pushing through this costly and unnecessary nuclear build not be open to the public, the deal will be tainted and the DA will not hesitate to go to court to interdict it," Mackay said.

The Sunday Times reported that Zuma reshuffled his cabinet on Tuesday after meeting a high level delegation from the Russian government the day before. Government insiders said the group came to the country to warn Zuma’s administration  to implement the R1 trillion new nuclear build project, the newspaper reported.

Following the meeting,  Zuma announced the removal of Kubayi from the energy portfolio to the communications ministry. She was replaced by former state security minister Mahlobo, who was trained in Russia before taking up the intelligence post in 2014. 
African News Agency