Energy Department responds to Earthlife legal action

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Department of Energy has noted media reports about Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute’s (SAFCEI) urgent court interdict around South Africa’s procurement of nuclear.

“The department notes the media reports following the urgent court application brought by Earthlife Africa and Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute seeking a declaratory and auxiliary relief pursuant to the judgment granted in the main application granted by the Western Cape High Court on 26 April 2017.

“The narrative seems to purport that the department intended to proceed with the nuclear expansion programme unlawfully,” said the department on Wednesday.

It was reported the two environmental organisations were in court on Wednesday to try to stop plans for the issuing of a request for proposals for the procurement of nuclear energy.

“The department would like to categorically state that the applicants had no legal basis for launching the urgent application. When the department lodged the explanatory affidavit, the applicants realised that their case, which was based on media reports, had no basis. The matter was set down for a hearing today and was postponed at the behest of the applicants,” the department said.

The Department of Energy said the organisations’ application at the Western Cape High Court was speculative, as Minister David Mahlobo has never contravened any of the aspects of the court judgment delivered by the Western Cape High Court on 26 April 2017.

“The media statements, which seem to suggest that the department would have proceeded with the nuclear expansion programme in an unlawful manner, are malicious and aimed at impugning the integrity of government. They are aimed at creating panic, misinformation and misrepresentation of facts and are intended to derail government from reinvigorating the economy.”

In May, then Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi–Ngubane announced that the department will not appeal a decision by the Western Cape High Court to set aside Inter-governmental Agreements (IGAs) on nuclear.

“I have decided that I will not be appealing the decision of the Western Cape High Court on this matter,” Minister Kubayi–Ngubane said in her address to a media briefing at the time.

This followed the April judgment which ruled that the tabling of the IGAs with Russia, USA and South Korea were unconstitutional and unlawful and that they be set aside.

The two judges of the court also ruled that the decisions made (section 34 determinations) to procure nuclear were unlawful and unconstitutional and that they be set aside.

Following the decision, Minister Kubayi-Ngubane instructed the Department of Energy to review the processing of all future section 34 determinations and review all determinations currently in place to ensure compliance with the judgment. - SAnews.gov.za

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