SA Nuclear Power Procurement: High Court Says Its Illegal And Unconstitutional


Western Cape High Court has on Wednesday morning ruled against government’s controversial SA nuclear power procurement with Russia aimed at costing the country trillions of rand.

Passing its judgment against the nuclear deal, the High court said the proposed Nuclear power deal will be set aside because it is ‘unlawful and unconstitutional’.

Read Also: SA Nuclear Deal: France Joins Russia In The Bid

The case was brought before the high court in October 2015 by the Earthlife Africa (ELA) and Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) after discovering that government was secretly speeding up the deal procurement process.

The NGOs too decided to approach the court as a way of delaying the deal process and to allocate more time for South Africans to adequately review and comment on the matter.

The NGO questioned the constitutionality and legality of the entire process, and have used the recent ICC ruling to bolster their argument.

Makoma Lekalakala of Earthlife Africa said at the time the case was filed, that the processes followed in the nuclear power deal are embarrassing for the SA democracy because the public was not adequately informed about it.

“What we expect from this court hearing is to hold those in the decision making processes to be accountable,” Makoma said

The high court set aside all proposed SA nuclear power procurement and declared them unlawful and unconstitutional.

The deal has long been criticized by SA public because it is believed that the project lacks transparency. Some even believed it formed the basis for Zuma’s recent cabinet reshuffle that saw the well-respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan removed and others opposing the deal removed.

The tender for the estimated 1 trillion-rand ($72 billion) expansion nuclear power plants is expected to begin in June when state utility Eskom requests proposals from companies bidding for the project, according to an internal Eskom document which indicated that the nuclear program will get underway.

But South Africans believe government and the state power Utility (Eskom) still have a lot to tell them before proceeding with the deal.

Read Also: SA Nuclear Power Deal: Vavi Says It’s Another Means To Enrich SA ‘Political Hyenas’

Though Eskom says it would finance the power deal without government support, it is believed that the SA nuclear power procurement would still be a threat to the economy and an indirect threat to public finances.

Economists also argue that the power will not be needed because trends in economic growth and electricity demand are much lower than the original forecasts on which the supposed need for nuclear power was based.