During a wide-ranging interview with Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi on Friday 4 August 2017, investigative editor at EE Publishers, CHRIS YELLAND took the opportunity to get an update from her on the state of the proposed nuclear new-build programme in South Africa.
This time last year, the procurement process for the proposed 9.6 GW of nuclear new-build in South Africa appeared to be well on track, and was indeed forging ahead. Brian Molefe, the hero, was firmly in control at Eskom, and had recently returned as a committed nuclear evangelist from a nuclear power induction programme for utility executives at MIT in the US. Matshela Koko was head of generation at Eskom, and held similar pro-nuclear views.
Molefe put out an unsubstantiated and unlikely position statement that Eskom would soon be cash-flush, and could handle the proposed nuclear new-build on the strength of its own balance sheet, without the need for any financial support or guarantees from government and the Treasury.
The incumbent energy minister at the time, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, appeared more than eager to rid herself and government of the burdensome nuclear hot potato, and happily dumped the responsibility to procure, build, own and operate the new-build on to...