Once again the rule of law has triumphed in South Africa. The Board and members of BLSA congratulate Earth Life South Africa and Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute for their courage and fortitude in successfully challenging the government’s proposed nuclear deal.
Judge Lee Bozalek in the Western Cape High Court, by setting aside the unconstitutional and unlawful cooperation agreements with the US, Russia and Korea, has assured South Africans of future public participation and more transparency. BLSA applauds this ruling, particularly given the nuclear new build programme was a red flag for ratings agencies. Fitch had cited it as central to the decision to remove former Finance Minister Nene and recently stated it contributed to the dismissal of Minister Gordhan.
BLSA has also noted and supported the clear findings of the Integrated Resource Plan, which suggest South Africa does not need a R1 trillion nuclear plan. In our current low-growth environment the costs and affordability of a nuclear program will strain public finances already under pressure.
The judge’s findings have forestalled government from flouting constitutional requirements, sidestepping parliament and the public and defying the standards of transparency required in a democracy. Given that Eskom, assigned responsibility for procurement, as recently as last week was seeking exemptions from certain National Treasury regulations, BLSA welcomes the ruling that the Minister of Energy and NERSA will make a new, more accountable determination.