A battle has been won in the efforts to prevent Eskom from building the nuclear power plant at Thyspunt but the war continues as Eskom bulldozes ahead with plans and Impact Studies at one of the world’s most sensitive archaeological sites.
The good news is that the South African government appears to have divergent views on Thyspunt, regardless of whether the macro policy of nuclear energy being the answer for our energy needs is accepted or not.
Arts and Culture Minister Lulu Xingwana has come out in opposition to Thyspunt being the preferred site for a nuclear power plant, and with good reason.
It now remains to be seen whether Eskom intends fighting the Minister in Court, or whether the Cabinet will override Xingwana decision in the National Interest of having a secure power supply.
Reports of Eskom offering premium prices for farm land in the St Francis Bay area continue to circulate, with the area known as “Thatch Farm” having been identified to build housing for 3 000 workers and their families. This farm borders on the upmarket suburb of Santereme as well as Sea Vista where unemployment is already a problem.
Should Thyspunt go ahead, it will effectively destroy the Chokka industry in the region, putting an estimated 2 000 fishermen out of work. The additional influx of people from the rural areas looking for work at Thyspunt will take place, following a similar pattern to Mossel Bay during the construction of Mos Gas.
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(Above: Opposition to nuclear energy is growing all over the world)
And once construction of Thyspunt has been completed? Do the maths and figure out how a small Police Station like St Francis Bay will ever be able to cope with the surge in crime that will take place with masses of unemployed workers trying to survive.
Up to this point, Eskom has not engaged the local Police nor the Community Police Forums and seems not to care about the social disaster that is looming. Jeffreys Bay with the biggest economy in the region will not escape this problem and the reality is that Ocean View could double in size very rapidly with unemployed and desperate people seeking jobs and money.
The communities of St Francis Bay and Jeffreys Bay cannot stop opposing the building of the nuclear power plant. The Thyspunt Alliance needs support in their fight to prevent Eskom from steam rolling ahead with the project.
The Coalition Against Nuclear Energy (CANE) is also fighting to prevent Thyspunt from happening. The fact of the matter is that Thyspunt should be a World Heritage Site, not a nuclear power plant that will cause a prime tourism destination and a foreign currency producer though the Chokka industry from becoming an industrial wasteland.