Former energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, who was fired in President Jacob Zuma’s midnight Cabinet reshuffle in March, created nuclear hurdles that will help opponents of the procurement programme, reports Fin24.
That is according to Democratic Alliance MP and shadow energy minister Gordon Mackay, who was speaking in a recent studio interview with Fin24.
Mackay said the Cabinet reshuffle was all “about facilitating and accelerating the nuclear deal”, with the appointment of Malusi Gigaba as finance minister and Mmamoloko Kubayi as energy minister central to this.
“(Their) sole mandate is ‘get this thing through and get it through quickly’,” said Mackay.
Mackay said some people assume that because Standard & Poor’s and Fitch downgraded South Africa to non-investment grade, nuclear is off the table.
“That is incorrect,” he said. “We need to be very worried for the potential for corruption here. Our role is to stop this thing dead.”
Mackay said Joemat-Pettersson, who resigned as a Member of Parliament shortly after being fired, did not push nuclear despite what people thought.
“There has been this huge misconception that Ms Joemat-Pettersson was Zuma’s woman driving nuclear,” he said. “It actually became clear early on that she was not actually pushing the nuclear agenda.
“In actual fact, if anything, I think she pushed the renewables agenda.
Part of the reason she pushed that so hard was very much to build new capacity into the electricity market from renewables so that the case for nuclear would be less and less.
So we wouldn’t need nuclear because we have other cheaper forms of energy coming online.”
Thyspunt is the preferred site for a new nuclear power station, despite strong opposition from local residents in both Jeffreys Bay and St Francis Bay.