The Minister of Energy, Tina Joemat-Petersson, must provide details on the secret meeting her department is currently having with Russian nuclear scientists in the Drakensberg.
Reports confirm that the Department of Energy is currently meeting with a large number of Rosatom nuclear scientists in secret at a luxury resort hotel in the mountain retreat.
This is not the synopsis of the latest Hollywood espionage thriller, but the reality of a secret meeting taking place between officials from Russian state nuclear firm Rosatom and Department of Energy (DOE) officials including nuclear chief, Zizamele Mbambo.
South Africans deserve to know the following:
What was being discussed at this meeting;
Why the meeting is being held in secret;
Whether her department is paying for the meeting and if so, how much; and
Whether there has been any further agreement with Rosatom.
If there is any intention of engaging in a nuclear build programme, the Minister must initiate public procurement processes as soon as possible.
Secret ‘behind the scenes’ dealings are simply unacceptable, especially given that the price tag could be as high as R1 trillion.
The evidence points increasingly to a deal done in secret with the Russians.
It is clear that Rosatom is the preferred bidder and the Minister must answer as to why.
Residents of Jeffreys Bay and the surrounding towns will be highly impacted by the nuclear deal as Thyspunt is the preferred site for the first nuclear power station.
Despite Eskom’s assurances that there will be work for locals, it seems self evident that the Russians and President Zuma have other ideas.
One wonders what will become of the still incomplete Impact Studies or will the “National Interest” outweigh any local environmental and economic concerns?