The Nuclear Deal is a political decision and has not followed any tender process, says Helen Zille, the leader of the Democratic Alliance.
“The Democratic Alliance plans to fight the emerging Russia Nuclear Deal. In doing so, we also call on all South Africans to stand up against what appears to be potential for corruption on a grand scale, unfolding before our eyes,” added Zille.
“This is a fight that must be taken on if we are to prevent future generations footing the estimated R1 trillion bill for a Deal ten times the size of the Arms Deal.
We have every reason to believe that the Deal is already effectively done, because President Jacob Zuma knows he is likely to bow out of office before the end of his term, and wishes to tie up the deal before then,” added Zille.
Questions need to asked why President Zuma has shrouded the Nuclear Deal in secrecy.
Why is he so committed to nuclear energy expansion, contrary to the National Development Plan, which foresees renewable energy as a far more cost-effective option, even in the short term?
On what legal basis is the President by-passing normal due process for procurement? The President is not an energy expert and so, on what basis is he making this choice and pursuing it with such urgency?
President Zuma has been to Russia on numerous occasions over the past 18 months. What were the details of these visits? Why were they so secretive?
And why has Zuma clearly given preferential access to himself for the Russians, in the absence of witnesses or experts in nuclear energy?
The fact is President Zuma’s renewed enthusiasm for the Nuclear Deal, now shrouded in highly suspicious circumstances, runs counter to the obvious conclusion that the nuclear build programme will not in any way resolve South Africa’s current energy crisis.
Instead of tying our country into costly nuclear programmes with the Russians, which will take at least ten to twelve years to build, and will have no impact on the current crisis which can be addressed immediately through an increased focus on renewable technologies, the cost of which is reducing rapidly.
The Russia Nuclear Deal will not be able to be funded off either Eskom’s balance sheet or South Africa’s budget.
Given that commercial banks are unlikely to take on the risk of funding nuclear energy, Rosatom’s costs will have to be covered by South African electricity users.
The experience of nuclear build programmes unfolding in countries such as the UK and Turkey (where Rosatom is also involved), should act as warning signs to South Africans that our current blended energy price of 60c/kwh will double, making it significantly more expensive than wind power, for example, at 74c/kwh.
This means that every single South African, their families, and their businesses have an interest in this Nuclear Deal being stopped.