The Department of Energy’s commitment to complete transparency over the nuclear deal between South Africa and Russia – which it vaguely claims only refers to decisions that the government might take in future on nuclear energy – amounts to an empty promise.
The South African public simply does not accept the Department’s line that they will decide what information is relevant to the public.
The department’s refusal to accede to Parliamentary oversight, citing the excuse of proprietary knowledge, does little to allay fears about the legitimacy of the agreement, its effect on the taxpayer and its implications for stable power generation in South Africa.
The fact of the matter is that a draft agreement was drawn up with Russia last year that included a veto clause over any other country wanting to do nuclear business with us.
“The DA believes that this latest agreement needs to be thoroughly scrutinised to ensure that this agreement does not make a mockery of our public procurement process,” said Lance Greyling, the DA Shadow Minister of Energy.
“The Energy department further stated that it would not be making available the nuclear procurement roadmap, thereby preventing the public from understanding all of the challenges and implications of a procurement of this size,” added Greyling.
It is simply not enough for the public to be made aware of government’s decisions – with no opportunity for Parliament and the public to scrutinise the matter. The South African people need to be made aware of the implications of decisions before they are in fact taken.
It is interesting to note that the Minister was conspicuously absent from the briefing and that it was left up to the Acting Director General, Wolsey Barnard, to clear up the confusion.
South Africans cannot be railroaded into a nuclear deal that could jeopardise the future of our economy.