Energy Minister To Be Questioned For Missing Documents


The SA Energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson will by next week, answer a call by the parliament to give account of missing documents regarding the nuclear energy programme.

This was revealed on Thursday by the Democratic Alliance (DA) MP and shadow energy minister Gordon Mackay in response to SAFCEI and ELA’s claim that government failed to disclose about 10 documents that will justify its decision to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with Russia.

Government had earlier announced its plan to build about eight nuclear reactors to add 9.6GW of base load energy in its drive to boost industrialization in South Africa.

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But the plan was put to a halt after many economists and pro-renewable energy advocates said the move was too expensive and unnecessary for the country, with some suggesting it would result in rating agencies downgrading the country to junk status.

It’s on this note that the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) and Earth Life Africa Johannesburg (ELA) filed a case in court challenging SA energy minister to prove that it had not gone ahead with the nuclear agreement against the people’s wish.

“Parliamentary committees recommence next week and the DA will be asking the minister to account for the missing documents,

The DA remains deeply perturbed by the state’s lack of compliance in this case,” DA’s Gordon Mackay said.

Meanwhile, ELA’s Dominque Doyle went on to say that government had been going against its promise of keeping a fair and accountable process of nuclear procurement, but its deeds do not live up to its promises.

“We need answers,” said Doyle. “Parliament should hold government accountable in a transparent manner.”

“Getting information out of government has been like pulling teeth,” said Safcei spokesperson Liz McDaid. “The case has been drawn out since October 2015, with government reluctant to provide the information necessary for a fair hearing.”

The Missing Documents Include:

1. The proposal to cabinet that the minister signed off for the roll-out of the new nuclear power plants;

2. The Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review by the  International Atomic Energy Agency;

3. The terms of reference for the National Nuclear Energy Executive Coordinating Committee;

4. The communication and stakeholder engagement strategy;

5. The phased decision-making approach for implementing the nuclear programme;

6. The designation of Eskom as the owner and operator of nuclear power plants in South Africa;

7. The 2004 Bilateral International Agreement with the Russian Federation;

8. The May 2013 agreement between Russia and South Africa signed during the Brics summit meeting in Durban;

9. The invitation to attend vendor parade workshops sent to the Republic of Korea, the United States of America, the Russian Federation, the French Republic, the People’s Republic of China, Canada and the Kingdom of Japan; and

10. The list of topics each vendor country was requested to address relating to the invitation referred to in the previous point.

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Meanwhile, Energy minister maintained that the government had not undertaken any nuclear deal with Russia and added that government is still committed to its promise of keeping a fair and transparent procurement process with due regard to the scale, pace and price of the programme.

Safcei and ELA sent the department a letter requesting the missing documents on August 4, after it received a leaked information that the documents were missing while their legal team was reviewing a 700-page responding affidavit from government.