SA nuclear power deal has not seized to draw the attention of well-meaning citizens who believe it to be another means of milking the country dry in corruption.
The SA nuclear power deal which is just steps away from being concluded has the country’s new trade union federation insisting it should be scrapped and replaced with a cheaper renewable energy.
Speaking ahead of the new trade union federation scheduled to be launched in Boksburg between April 21 to 23, Zwelinzima Vavi who is heading the committee, vehemently condemned the planned SA nuclear power deal saying it “opens up space for political hyenas to engage in primitive accumulation”.
According to him, the rush to conclude the SA nuclear power deal is part of a plan to capture key state institutions and continue with self-enrichment by individuals already feeding from the state.
Giving reasons why the deal shouldn’t push through, Vavi said the imposition should not be discussed outside the deepening political crisis.
He said the deal is part of an aggressive programme to capture key institutions of the state for self-enrichment.
Putting the cost of the nuclear plant installation at R1.17 per kilowatt, Vavi said the new trade union federation delegates agreed to reject the imposition no matter what reasons given to them by top government officials in the matter.
Adding to his list of reasons why the deal should not push through, Vavi said the cost of the nuclear power per kilowatt does not take into consideration the high costs of disposing of nuclear waste.
Finnce Minister Pravin Gordhan made his 2017 annual budget but failed to mention the nuclear build programme when Zuma, during his State of the Nation address spoke aggressively about the power advancement.
Vavi’s comment about the SA nuclear power deal brings to mind people’s worries concerning the deal, especially in the face of the country’s economic downturn and mass unemployment.
Western Cape High Court heard last month that the country’s nuclear agreement with countries like Russia has far-reaching consequences for the budget.
David Unterhalter, SC, appearing for Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environmental Institute, who are challenging government’s nuclear procurement process in court, said liability for nuclear accidents fell on South Africa even if it occurred outside the country.
The two explained that if the Russian company building the proposed eight new nuclear power stations had an accident while transporting nuclear material from Vladivostok to Qatar, for instance, causing extensive damage, the Russian inter-governmental agreement made South Africa liable for what could be “massive” costs.
“South Africa bears the burden under the indemnity clause. A country making this kind of offer would have to make very special provision for this in its budget,” Unterhalter said.
“Such liability was not even consistent with the Vienna Convention on liability for nuclear damage,
“So we have gone very far in seeming to court Russia and to say: ‘We will pay and we will indemnify’,” Unterhalter added.
Though the court was not being asked to decide on the merits and demerits of the Russian nuclear agreement, as this would be beyond its powers, it was however asked to decide whether an international agreement of this nature should first have been tabled in Parliament for approval, particularly because of the massive financial implications.
While Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan defended the project in parliament last month, two SA environmental NGOs made themselves available carrying placards that read “No nukes, no bankrupting SA, no enriching Zuma and Co,” and “Nuclear costs SA equivalent of 1.2-billion buses!”
These were signs that registered their disapproval of the controversial deal.