Johannesburg - Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson must give details on what authority was acquired in concluding a nuclear agreement with Russia, the DA said on Thursday.
“The DA is extremely concerned over reports that (she) signed the latest agreement with Russia in secret and without the involvement of other departmental or diplomatic staff in attendance,” Democratic Alliance MP Lance Greyling said in a statement.
“In addition, the DA's investigations have revealed that the minister may not have consulted with the office of the state law adviser at the department of international relations and co-operation.”
He said this was in violation of the terms of procedure for concluding international agreements as set out in chapter five of the 2006 Manual on Executive Acts of the Office of the President of South Africa.
Joemat-Pettersson's office could not immediately be reached for comment.
On Wednesday, the Beeld newspaper reported that Joemat-Pettersson was alone when she signed the “mysterious” agreement.
According to the report, the rest of the South African delegation attending the general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna were told to go and wait somewhere else because the meeting with Russia was “private”.
Earlier this month, government said there had been no agreement entered into with Russia for the construction of nuclear power plants.
On Monday, energy department acting director general Wolsey Barnard said South Africa was still looking at different options to facilitate nuclear power in the country.
On September 22, the department and Russia's atomic energy agency Rosatom issued separate but identical statements that South Africa had struck a “deal” for the construction of up to eight nuclear power plants.
Last week, Barnard denied this statement had been a mistake. There had, however, been a “misunderstanding” of the statement.
Greyling on Thursday said it was time Joemat-Pettersson “ended her silence” on the issue and provided clarity on what exactly had been signed with Russia.
“Ever since this agreement was signed, the minister has been noticeably absent, refusing to answer any questions over it.
“This is deeply suspicious to the DA, particularly given that she seems to be the only one to have actually seen this agreement,” he said.
The DA wants Joemat-Pettersson to provide Parliament with all the necessary documentation relating to the agreement.
Greyling said the party would submit an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act to obtain all the documents.