It is reported that Cabinet approved a new Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) – which will open the door for nuclear procurement – on Wednesday 6 December.
It is bizarre and highly irregular that no official Cabinet announcement was made last week.
This hasty approval of the IRP under the cover of darkness is a full three months before the February 2018 deadline set by former Minister Kubayi, and without the second round of public participation that was promised.
The rush to approve the IRP cements perceptions that new Energy Minister David Mahlobo was appointed to fast track the nuclear deal. And rumours that money has already changed hands with Russian bidders will only intensify.
It is telling that Cabinet has approved the new IRP just before the ANC’s Conference set to take place on 16-20 December.
Zuma, who is believed to be under pressure from the Russians, is clearly worried that a new ANC leadership (and potentially a new Cabinet) may have other ideas when it comes to nuclear.
He wants to make it as difficult as possible for any potential successor to put a halt to nuclear procurement.
No rational government would push for the procurement of new nuclear power stations in our current circumstances.
Indeed, all reputable studies have shown that we do not need to build new nuclear power stations and that we cannot afford to do so.
The government’s own Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has concluded that the lowest cost for any new investment in the energy sector is a blend of solar, wind and gas – with no nuclear.
Even Eskom’s latest modelling confirms that the unconstrained least-cost scenario does not include any new nuclear power.
The truth is that new nuclear procurement has nothing do with the best interests of South Africa, and everything to do with the greed of those set to benefit from a corrupt trillion rand deal.