Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson today told parliament that the fiscus would not fund South Africa’s nuclear build programme. She said the Department of Energy would propose to the Cabinet that Eskom be the designated procurer for the programme and that the parastatal’s balance sheet be used to raise funds.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) , however, responded by saying that this was nothing short of “an elaborate sleight of hand aimed at muddying the water and subverting effective parliamentary oversight over the R1 trillion nuclear deal.”
In designating Eskom as the procuring agent for the nuclear new build, the DA said the following had to 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 tax payers will not be directly liable for the build costs of the new build programme – 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.
“Far from providing much needed clarity and assurance, the Minister has created greater uncertainty and has all but ensured that Zuma and his cronies will enrich themselves at South Africa’s expense,” the DA added.