Government ‘doesn’t care’

Louisa Feiter, Communications Coordinator, Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI)

In the Constantiaberg Bulletin,May 26 edition, you ran an article titled “Fight against Russia nuke deal”.

I would just like to highlight the importance of this issue, as such a deal will have far-reaching consequences not only for our energy future, but how decisions are made in this country.

Despite numerous concerns raised about the affordability of a nuclear fleet, as well as whether South Africa really needs that much energy (the 2013 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) draft report made no mention of nuclear, and we are working on an outdated energy plan from 2010), the government still seems to be hell-bent on following this nuclear route.

Government does not seem to have the interests of its citizens at heart, as is also evidenced by the way they kept side-stepping a legal court challenge. Three deadlines were missed by the government lawyers before they handed in responding affidavits to the court case that the SAFCEI and Earthlife Africa Johannesburg (ELA) launched against the Department of Energy and President Jacob Zuma.

The SAFCEI and ELA court case challenges various points of the procurement process, which they believe has not been transparent or legal. The court case was launched in October last year and government has delayed until now, draining the resources of these organisations.

The constitution and the laws of the country require a fair and transparent nuclear procurement process, and it is not a fair and transparent process when government makes decisions behind closed doors. Nor can it be fair and transparent when the government tries to delay the matter from being addressed in the courts.

If following the laws of the land becomes optional, then that will open the doors wide to corruption and government capture.