South Africa: The Grand Inga Dam Project Poses Fiscal Risks Similar to the Controversial Arms Deal

analysis

Before the South African taxpayer can underwrite any aspect of the development of the Grand Inga Dam Project, Parliament must ensure that a transparent and participatory process is undertaken to interrogate its feasibility and to ensure that any budget allocation to the project is constitutionally compliant.

Civil society has not forgotten the lessons of the arms deal and its cost is still being felt by our society to this day. The Select Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) in its October 2000 report reviewing the Strategic Arms Purchases concluded that when Cabinet entered into the arms procurement contract, it had not fully taken into account all the implicated costs of the contract. The contract was initially supposed to cost an amount of R30.3-billion, but this had escalated to R43.8-billion a year after it was entered into. Importantly, SCOPA expressed doubts as to the suggested positive economic benefits of entry into this contract and suggested that the estimated benefits were not properly verified before being accepted.

In 2019, civil society organisations Womin African Alliance (Womin) and International Rivers referred to this SCOPA report when challenging South Africa's intention to act as the anchor off-taker for the Grand Inga Dam Hydroelectric Power Project...

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