Cape Town - Protesters picketed in front of Parliament against the proposed nuclear build programme ahead of Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s first Medium Term Budget Statement.
Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute (SAFCEI) took to Parliament to express their disapproval of any negotiations leading to the establishment of a nuclear deal.
The faith-based NGO said the country cannot afford a nuclear deal which is expected to cost the country billion of rand.
The Stop the Secret Nuke Deal campaign and the Campaign for a Just Energy Future, supported by more than 20 civil and faith organisations,have also joined in and sent a letter to Parliament’s portfolio committee on energy to demand public hearings that are required before any progress can be made on a nuclear deal.
SAFCEI spokesperson Pooven Moodley said the recent cabinet reshuffle and the environmental authorisation for the construction of a new nuclear power plant near Koeberg suggests that the SA government has not given up on the nuclear deal, nor have they “learnt anything from the Western Cape High Court ruling”.
Earthlife Africa and SAFCEI took the government to court earlier this year after the it negotiated a nuclear deal with Russia.
The two organisations alleged that the processes leading up to the decision to sign agreements with Russia and the Section 34 determination to procure nuclear power were illegal and not in line with constitutionally-sound administrative decision making.
The Western Cape High Court set aside all proposed nuclear deals declaring them unlawful and unconstitutional.
Moodley said the organisation will oppose negotiations of nuclear deal until the government “get the message”.
“We took the government to court and won the case against nuclear deal in April this year. Two years before that we were standing in front of parliament to remind them that we don’t want this nuclear deal , it is unlawful and corrupt. With the recent move to try and reintroduce the nuclear deal we have now taken the vigil again,” said Moodley.
“South Africa cannot afford this nuclear deal and the government should focus on developing the people of south africa,” said Moodley.
The Democratic Alliance has also said it would keep a close eye on negotiations for a new nuclear deal. The party said it would not hesitate to head to courts to interdict any intended process leading to a nuclear deal.
DA spokesperson Gordon Mackay said said the party was aware of the high level Russian delegations who met with President Jacob Zuma prior the second cabinet reshuffle, which saw David Mahlobo appointed as energy minister.
Gordon said the appointment served to push the nuclear deal in favour of the Russians.
“The fact that is 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,” said Gordon.