On Wednesday, a diverse group of religious leaders gathered outside parliament in Cape Town to protest against President Jacob Zuma’s energy plans.
The Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute (SAFCEI) has participated in weekly protests since Zuma announced South Africa’s nuclear deal with Russia in September 2014, Women24 reported.
The nuclear deal was signed with Russia to supply the country with eight nuclear reactors by 2023 at a total cost of ZAR1 trillion ($88 billion).
“Our electricity shortages are best addressed by increasing renewable energy which comes online within two to three years, combined with energy efficiency, rather than pursuing nuclear power which is notorious for its cost over runs and delays,” said SAFCEI spokesperson Liz McDaid.
“A nuclear power plant that takes 10 years to build will not help Eskom keep lights on in 2015, while solar and wind power plants that have come online now are helping to ease the current shortages”, McDaid continued.
SAFCEI called on cabinet to extract answers from government and ensure that the entire deal was transparent for the public to eliminate any suspicions of corruption.
In terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA), SAFCEI submitted numerous applications to treasury and the Department of Energy asking for all “records reflecting decisions taken related to the financial obligations and the economic impact of the decisions reflected in intergovernmental agreements on current strategic partnerships and co-operation in nuclear energy”.
According to the media report, treasury responded saying that no input into financial matters concerning the nuclear deal had been given.
“The South Africa nation has entered into an international agreement without doing their financial homework”, SAFCEI commented.
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