What does the nuclear deal mean for ordinary South Africans?

With our third finance minister in 2 years, it is clear that president Jacob Zuma wants to get the treasury aligned with his vision. In other words, he wants a finance minister that does not question anything and only signs on the dotted line. It is very clear that one of these projects that Mr Zuma wants signed off on, is the Nuclear deal.

In today’s blog I will be looking at the nuclear deal and whether it is feasible. Furthermore, as a bonus, I will compare nuclear energy to other alternatives (especially renewable energy).

Firstly, it is important to know that our government has made it clear that they do not need public approval for their nuclear agreement signed with Russia. On Thursday, 23 February 2017, the Western Cape High Court heard that the South African government is under no obligation to get public approval and that it did not even need approval from Parliament. This was according to State advocate Marius Oosthuizen. Why would the government not want the approval of the public and/or parliament? Why are they doing everything in their power to push this deal through?

Nhlanhla Nene and Pravin Gordhan had many things in common, but the one common characteristic that they both had in common – and ended up costing them their jobs – was the fact that they were both adamant that South Africa could not afford the nuclear deal and neither of them was willing to sign off on the deal. Enter Malusi Gicaba, the most unqualified Ministerof Finance since the weekend-wonder Des van Rooyen. He might seem unqualified, but he has the one qualification that Jacob Zuma wants in his Finance Minister, the willingness to comply to Zuma’s wishes. It is also well documented that both Des van Rooyen and Gicaba has very close ties with the Gupta-family.

The nuclear deal is set to be even more economically crippling to South Africa than the arms deal, which was ripe with corruption. The estimated cost of the nuclear deal with Russia is R1 trillion, in other words, approximately 4065 Nkandlas. Zuma was accused of bribery by British and German investigators, amongst others and it seems like Zuma wants to one-up himself by entering into another multi-billion deal of which he clearly has something to gain. It is sad that international investigators had to hold our politicians accountable for us and that some of these politicians (Zuma included) still has not faced the allegations in court.

South Africa has a dismal economic growth rate and we are already incurring more debt by the year. On top of that our state-owned enterprises are making significant losses and we are losing billions due to mismanagement and corruption. WE CANNOT AFFORD THIS DEAL!

You are probably asking yourself if there is any evidence of possible corruption. The answer is yes. Let us set-aside the fact that there is no transparency in the bidding for the Nuclear deal and that Russian company, Rosatom, has basically received the contract on a golden platter – and look at the bigger picture. The Shiva uranium mine (30km north-west of Pretoria) originally belonged to Uranium Ore (a company) which is a subsidiary of – you guessed it – Russia’s Rosatom. In 2010 this mine was sold to none other than Oakbay Resources (controlled by the Guptas and Duduzane Zuma). The mine was deemed to be unprofitable and therefore not attractive for other mining companies, but it would suddenly become very profitable if it became the uranium supplier to the new nuclear power stations. To further add to the controversy, Oakbay only paid R270 million for the mine, a lot less than the mine was considered to be worth at the time.

If this is not enough to convince you, ask yourself this: Why would South Africa want to invest hundreds of billions at the least into nuclear power, when it is not the cheapest, safest or most effective option? The world is moving in the direction of renewable energy and there is no advantage in using nuclear energy. I can analyse the advantages of renewable energy compared to nuclear energy for hours, but there are many articles that clearly set out the pros and cons of each form of energy. Here is the best one in my opinion: http://energypost.eu/renewable-energy-versus-nuclear-dispelling-myths/. In summary, most existing nuclear power reactors are widely regarded as obsolete, all nuclear power reactors currently under construction are behind schedule and over-budget, renewable energy is becoming cheaper and growing rapidly and it is faster to build renewable energy farms compared to nuclear. This is not even taking into consideration that there has been many disasters when it comes to nuclear power plants (Chernobyl and Fukushima).

In conclusion, it is clear that there is no transparency in this nuclear deal and that there are many reasons to be sceptical about the true reason that this deal is so important to Mr Zuma. We should question the ties that Mr Zuma’s family and the Guptas have with this deal. Above all it is clear that South Africa cannot afford this deal and that we will incur unimaginable debt. We have to put a stop to this or our children will live in a country in economic ruins.

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