Lindsay Dentlinger29 January 2024 | 17:16

Electricity Minister kick-starts nuclear procurement process

Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has advised that the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy will be in charge of procuring the new programme.

Electricity Minister kick-starts nuclear procurement process

Minister of Electricity Kgosienstsho Ramokgopa briefing members of the media on the progress regarding the implementation of the Energy Action Plan in Pretoria on Monday, 17 July 2023. Picture: Twitter/@Kgosientsho_R

CAPE TOWN - The Electricity Minister has officially kick-started a new nuclear procurement process by notice in the government gazette.

Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has advised that the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) will be in charge of procuring the new programme.

But the Democratic Alliance (DA) claims the notice is irregular and should immediately be withdrawn.

It adds that government can simply not afford such a project.

In 2017, lobby groups went to court to put a stop to government’s planned partnership with Russia for a nuclear build programme.

However, the new draft integrated resources plan issued by the DMRE makes provision for 2.5 gigawatts of nuclear energy.

The department has already said a second nuclear station for South Africa would not be built for at least another decade.

Ramokgopa has now put DMRE in charge of starting a fair, transparent, equitable, cost-effective and competitive process to procure nuclear energy.

According to the government notice published on Friday, either Eskom or a partnership with the State will be in charge of generating the electricity.

But the DA’s Kevin Mileham is calling foul: "The new determination notice undermines Treasury's authority on fiscal sustainability, violates the conditions for Eskom’s debt assumption and has not been properly costed."

Mileham alleges Ministers Gwede Mantashe and Ramokgopa have issued the notice without costing the project and first consulting National Treasury about it.