15 December 2016

South Africa: Energy Department Notes High Court Decision

Pretoria — The Department of Energy (DoE) has noted the outcomes of court proceedings to postpone a review application by Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities' Environmental Institute.

"The department has noted the outcome of the court proceedings in matter of the review application by Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities' Environmental Institute. The application is being opposed by the Minister of Energy," said the department on Wednesday.

It has been reported that Earthlife Africa is arguing that government's agreement with Russia to supply South Africa with multiple nuclear power plants is unlawful and unconstitutional.

The DoE reiterated that the South African government, including its State owned enterprises, has not entered into any deal or signed any contract for the procurement of nuclear power.

The Cape Town High Court postponed the matter to February 2017 and this will allow all interested parties to review relevant documentation.

"In line with ministerial commitments made in Parliament, the department's revised Determination has been gazetted on 14 December 2016. This Determination follows the Cabinet decision of 2 November 2016, which designates Eskom as the owner operator and procurer of the New Nuclear power plants in accordance with the Nuclear Energy Policy of 2008."

The department added that the procurement process for the nuclear new build programme has not commenced.

"A fair, transparent, equitable, competitive and open procurement process will be followed in line with the Constitution and the decisions of Cabinet."

Power utility Eskom has been designated the procurer, owner and operator of nuclear power plants with South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) as an owner and operator of Front-end Fuel Facilities including the Multi-purpose Reactor.

"Government remains committed to ensure energy security for the country, including the roll-out of the Nuclear New Build Programme as an integral part of the energy mix. The nuclear new build programme will enable the country to create jobs, develop skills, create industries, and contribute to the country's knowledge economy."

Government remains committed to a procurement process that is in line with the country's legislation and policies. The Nuclear Programme will contribute to the government's socio-economic development and transformation agenda.

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