Mantashe must stop with his ridiculous nuclear fantasies

Issued by Kevin Mileham MP – DA Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy
01 Jun 2023 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by Kevin Mileham MP.

Having lost all credibility on how to address the electricity crisis and secure new generation capacity for South Africa, the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, has now found a favorite past time – clamoring for fiscally unattainable nuclear power.

Oblivious to the fact that his ANC government has practically collapsed economy, leaving the state coffers empty, Mantashe still insists on forging ahead with plans for a 2500MW nuclear build programme. Even if the country could afford such an investment, it will be another 10 to 15 years before the first megawatt is supplied to the grid. Given our track record with Medupi and Kusile, even this seems unlikely.

South Africa does not have 10 years – the ongoing electricity crisis require the acquisition of new generation capacity in the shortest possible time. If reports from the government’s Operation Vulindlela are anything to go by, renewable energy currently offers the best distributed sources of energy to provide relief for loadshedding in the shortest possible time. Several projects are currently in the process of being connected to the grid, only a few years after they attained bid qualification.

The idea of a new nuclear build programme has been rejected across the board, including from within the ANC itself. In 2018, the then ANC’s Treasurer General, Paul Mashatile, rejected the notion of nuclear energy arguing that South Africa cannot afford large-scale expansion of its nuclear power fleet. This was just a few years after Treasury had also poured cold water on new nuclear projects because the country was essentially broke.

Mantashe’s insistence on this financially irrational option to address the energy crisis can be blamed squarely on President Cyril Ramaphosa. Since he appointed him to the Energy portfolio, he has had to arm twist him at every turn to remove bureaucratic red tape that was standing in the way of Independent Power Producers. With such obstinate stubbornness in the face of a major national crisis, the question that every South African has been asking for the past few years is why is Ramaphosa scared of firing Mantashe?

With the 2024 elections looming on the horizon, South Africans are motivated to fire both Ramaphosa and Mantashe for the good of the country. We simply cannot afford to have another 5 years of rolling blackouts while Mantashe pushes irrational ideas about nuclear power, which is beyond the reach of the country at this time.

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