Energy minister to face questions over nuclear bid

Matthew le Cordeur and Reuters

Cape Town – The Democratic Alliance (DA) will on Tuesday ask Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson why Russia’s nuclear energy framework agreement looks like a signed deal compared to the other country’s agreements.

Joemat-Pettersson will be briefing the Portfolio Committee on Energy in the National Assembly on the five international nuclear agreements.

The country is in the process of procuring a nuclear fleet to generate 9 600 megawatts of power, which could cost about R1trn.

Gordon Mackay, the DA’s energy shadow minister, told Fin24 on Monday he would ask Joemat-Pettersson “why the Russian framework agreement is fundamentally, materially and substantially different from any other framework agreements that will be tabled”.

“The other framework agreements signed... are all very boring, generalised documents,” he said. “The Russian document looks actually like a signed deal.

“We are going to want to understand from the minister why it is that the Russians are talking specifically about locations and sites for nuclear build plants and why, for example, the Russians have indicated that any risk that results from the procurement of nuclear from Russia will be for the South African state to manage and deal with.”

Joemat-Pettersson told journalists at a media briefing near Pretoria on Monday that "there is no deal that has been struck with any country".
"Once we have taken a decision as a government and cabinet, we will communicate. There is no secrecy," Reuters reported Joemat-Pettersson as saying.