The axing of Minister Nhlanhla Nene has highlighted his opposition to the nuclear deal as one likely reason for Zuma’s shocking move, writes James Irlam, who is the Deputy National Treasurer of the People’s Health Movement.
Now, more than ever, is the time to speak out against the nuclear deal. The secrecy to date rings alarm bells for a young democracy still paying the costs of the arms deal: financially, in lost development opportunities, and in the erosion of democratic accountability. Nene’s axing adds to deep suspicions that vested interests will be paramount in this deal too, which is potentially much more damaging to our future than the arms deal.
There is no need at this stage for nuclear power to meet our energy needs. The Department of Energy’s 2013 energy resources plan indicates that no new nuclear base-load capacity is required until after 2025 at least.
Our current renewable energy projects have exceeded expectations in terms of capacity and economic benefit, while mitigating load-shedding and greenhouse gas emissions.
Greater investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency will also reduce the harmful impacts of uranium and fossil fuel mining and waste disposal, and create healthier employment and economic opportunities.
Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) are challenging the lack of transparency in SA’s nuclear plans in court. I appeal to other concerned citizens to speak out in support of their challenge.