Government will not appeal the Western Cape High Court’s decision on proceeding with nuclear energy in South Africa.

“I have decided that I will not be appealing the decision of the Western Cape High Court on this matter,” energy minister Mmamoloko Kubayi told media this weekend. However, she did not state a reason as to why she would not appeal the judgement.

Last month, two judges ruled that the tabling of Intergovernmental Agreements (IGA) with Russia, the United States and South Korea were unconstitutional and unlawful, and that they be set aside.

They also ruled that the decision to task Eskom with procurement for the proposed nuclear programme was unlawful, unconstitutional, and that it also be set aside. This fell under section 34 determinations.

The case was brought against the energy department by Earthlife and the South African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI).

Following this ruling, Kubayi said she instructed her department to review the processing of all future section 34 determinations and review all determinations currently in place to ensure compliance with the judgment.

“In accepting the ruling of the court, and ensuring that no impropriety is suggested in the future, the department seeks to apply standardisation in both form and processing (relating to proper tabling before parliament and its committees), of all Intergovernmental Agreements to be concluded with international countries,” Kubayi said.

“It is important to note that there is no intention to table the current agreements but will embark to sign new agreements with all the five countries and table them within reasonable time to parliament for consideration,” she added.

Maintaining SA’s energy mix

Kubayi said her department remains committed to the currently approved energy mix policy and will continue to strive to implement all forms of energy sources that will help secure the supply and availability of energy in the country.

She also said there was a need for nuclear in South Africa as it could help reduce carbon emissions by 34%, in line with the country’s 2020 goals, and positively contribute to the country’s energy mix.

“… we are going to make sure that we diversify our energy production in the country, have renewables, have nuclear and currently we are running on fossil fuels, we will continue with that,” she said.

“We think diversifying will assist us to have balanced energy sources,” she added. “That’s why we continue to state that our policy is that of an energy mix. We do not want to be exposed as a country where we have one source of energy, and if it happens that it becomes unreliable, we will be in trouble.”