SA no longer has agreement with Russians on nuclear, says Radebe

Cape Town – Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe told eNCA on Sunday evening that South Africa no longer had an agreement with the Russians to procure for the development of nuclear energy for the country.

Speaking to journalist and political analyst Karima Brown on the news network’s show The Fix, Radebe said he was of the view that government did not appeal the court ruling in 2017 which invalidated the nuclear deal at that time.

The energy portfolio in national government has seen unparalleled instability with at least five ministers of energy in the past eight years, and a subsequent lack of clarity as to whether the Intergovernmental Framework Agreement which mentions nuclear would still be pursued and what role nuclear would play in the energy mix.

Brown asked Radebe for clarity on the status of the nuclear deal, in light of Deputy President David Mabuza’s official visit to the Russian Federation in May and the BRICS Summit taking place in Johannesburg this week. Redebe said any deal for nuclear procurement was set aside in court.

“That question was decided by the high court in the Western Cape last year, where the submission of the intergovernmental agreement of Russia, the United States and South Korea was tested in court. The court decided the submission was unconstitutional, unlawful and set it aside,” said Radebe.

Brown asked if there was an expectation on the part of the Russians that the deal be concluded and followed. Redebe said South Africa was back to square one and the pending Integrated Resource Plan would determine the role of nuclear in South Africa’s energy mix.

“There was an Intergovernmental Agreement that was signed in Russia, but that has been tested in the High Court of the Western Cape,” he said.

He said despite the fact that Intergovernmental Framework agreements were signed long ago, these agreements could not be followed if invalidated by courts and could not be implemented without being ratified in Parliament.

“If you mean by deal that there was a contract for us to procure nuclear, there is nothing like that, but there was a cooperation agreement signed by the former minister of energy which has now been set aside by the courts,” said Radebe.

He said he was of the view that government did not appeal the judgment of the Western Cape High Court that the nuclear deal was unconstitutional.

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