Eyebrows have been raised at the announcement by Minister of Energy, Tina Joemat-Pettersson that makes Eskom the designated procuring agent for South Africa’s proposed new nuclear build.
In fact, Gordon Mackay, shadow minister of energy, calls it “nothing short of an elaborate sleight of hand aimed at muddying the water and subverting effective parliamentary oversight over the R1 trillion nuclear deal.”
He comments: “In designating Eskom as the procuring agent for the nuclear new build the following must be considered:
* The tender will be subject to Eskom’s board tender committee, the very same tender committee found to be corrupt by the Supreme Court of Appeal.
* The tender will be subject to internal Eskom processes, effectively shielding the nuclear deal from direct parliamentary oversight.
* A nuclear deal not directly subject to parliamentary oversight will cost more and be subject to greater levels of corruption, in the same way as Kusile and Medupi have been with regard to their association with Hitachi.
* While tax payers will not be directly liable for the build costs of the new build programme – like the costs of Kusile and Medupi – they will be passed onto consumers via higher electricity prices. Higher energy costs will kill economic growth and jobs.
“Far from providing much needed clarity and assurance, the Minister has created greater uncertainty and has all but ensured that Zuma and his cronies will enrich themselves at South Africa’s expense,” McKay adds.