Seven work groups will be established to help prepare the Kouga Municipality for the construction of a nuclear plant at Thyspunt should the national power project receive the green light.
Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen said the work groups would serve as sub-committees of the Thyspunt Nuclear Project Joint Steering Committee.
The Joint Steering Committee was established in December last year and is co-chaired by Eskom and Kouga Municipality.
Members include Kouga Municipality, Eskom, the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT), the East Cape Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta EC), the South African Police Service (SAPS), Sarah Baartman District Municipality (SBDM) and the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa).
The Mayor said the proposed scope, mandate, activities, budget requirements, risks, milestones and membership of each of the seven groups were discussed at a meeting of the Joint Steering Committee at Jeffreys Bay on Friday, April 7.
“The work groups will be responsible for identifying and addressing opportunities and potential pitfalls for the Kouga area, including infrastructure shortages and socio-economic impacts, should the Thyspunt development proceed,” she said.
“As stated before, the Kouga Council is not opposed to nuclear development per se, but we are not willing for Kouga and its people to be disadvantaged by the project.
“If a nuclear plant is to be built in our area, Kouga’s people must be ready to reap the benefits and proper measures must be in place to mitigate any potential threats.”
The proposed work groups were introduced by Eskom’s acting General Manager: Nuclear New Build, Loyiso Tyabashe, who co-chairs the Joint Steering Committee with the Mayor.
The work groups are: Infrastructure, Human Capital, Regulatory and Environment, Supplier Development, Safety and Security, Finance and Stability, and Stakeholder Management and Communication.
Tyabashe said the groups would be facilitated by either Eskom or Kouga Municipality, as the main roleplayers, and consist of senior representatives from key government departments and state-owned enterprises.
They will report back to the Joint Steering Committee on a quarterly basis.
The Mayor stressed that a final decision had not yet been made about the proposed nuclear plant at Thyspunt.
“These structures are being put in place so as to ensure that roleplayers and stakeholders are ready should the project receive the nod.
If approved, Thyspunt will be the biggest development our municipal area has ever seen. We want to ensure that the best interests of our communities are taken into account at all times,” she said.
Tyabashe said Eskom was currently awaiting the outcome of the final Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regarding its nuclear plans from the Department of Environmental Affairs.
Applications for two Nuclear Installation Site Licences, at Thyspunt and Duynefontein, have also been submitted to the National Nuclear Regulator.