SA’s energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said the state’s electricity public utility, Eskom will be responsible for financing the proposed R1 trillion nuclear plans.
The minister revealed this while briefing Parliament’s energy oversight committee on the funding of the controversial R1 trillion nuclear plans
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Joemat-Pettersson said the treasury will not be asked to fund the plan as the money for nuclear build will be fully funded from Eskom’s balance sheet
“I wish to categorically state that there’s no basket of money in treasury that will be used for this programme,” Joemat-Pettersson said while leading a briefing of her department to Parliament’s portfolio committee on energy.
“The balance sheet of Eskom will be used to leverage funding for nuclear build.”
The controversial nuclear plan which will see 9,600MW of nuclear power added to the grid in the coming years has been a disturbing one where the DoE has not revealed any of the details surrounding the project – including its cost.
A request for proposals for the nuclear build program was meant to be issued on September 30 but plans for this to happen had since been truncated as the cabinet was yet to approve an updated integrated resource plan (IRP), the country’s national plan for electricity generation.
Conservative first gave a rough estimate of R500 billion that will be used to build the plant, while experts, after taking into consideration the country’s much-delayed Medupi and Kusile power station builds, said the power plant may cost over R1 trillion.
Meanwhile, Democratic Alliance shadow minister of energy, Gordon Mackay regarded Joemat-Pettersson’s comment on the R1 trillion nuclear plans funding as another open door for President Jacob Zuma to enrich himself and his pals.
Mackay said the statement is nothing short of an elaborate sleight of hand aimed at muddying the water and subverting effective parliamentary oversight over the R1 trillion nuclear deal.
He, however, noted that designating Eskom as the procuring agent for the nuclear new build the following must be considered:
- The tender will be subject to Eskom’s board tender committee, the very same tender committee found to be corrupt by the Supreme Court of Appeal.
- The tender will be subject to internal Eskom processes, effectively shielding the nuclear deal from direct parliamentary oversight.
- A nuclear deal not directly subject to parliamentary oversight will cost more and be subject to greater levels of corruption, in the same way as Kusile and Medupi have been with regard to their association with Hitachi.
- While taxpayers will not be directly liable for the build costs of the new build program – like the costs of Kusile and Medupi – they will be passed onto consumers via higher electricity prices. Higher energy costs will kill economic growth and jobs
The DA’s shadow minister ended his statement on the matter by saying that the Minister has created greater uncertainty and has all but ensured that Zuma and his cronies will enrich themselves at South Africa’s expense.