South African court sets aside nuclear deal as unlawful
- South Africa had entered deals with Russia, the US, and South Korea without debate in national assembly

A high court in South Africa Wednesday set aside a government decision to call for the procurement of nuclear energy from vendor countries, including Russia.

Western Cape Judge Lee Bozalek said the process which the program was proceeding on was unconstitutional, as it was not first debated in parliament.

The South African government had asked power utility Eskom, which supplies 95 percent of the country’s electricity, to obtain 9,600 megawatts of nuclear power to diversify its energy supply. Eskom mainly depends on coal.

But environmental group Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities Environment institute challenged the government’s decision in court.

The government can now appeal the decision or take the decision through parliament, per the court ruling.

They said the recently resigned energy minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, had signed agreements without a debate in Parliament.

South Africa had entered deals with Russia, the U.S., and South Korea before being debated in the national assembly.

Experts say the cost of building new nuclear plants would cost the country 1 trillion rand (some $76 billion), reportedly the largest procurement deal in the country’s history.

South Africa, currently facing slow economic growth, already owns one nuclear power station -- the only one on the continent. The Koeberg nuclear power plant located in the Western Cape Province is operated by Eskom.

By Hassan Isilow in Johannesburg

Anadolu Agency



26 Apr,2017