By Ismail Obaray MPL DA Northern Cape Spokesperson of Environment:
Talk of the possible establishment of nuclear power stations in the province is of great concern to the DA considering that the Northern Cape Department of Environment and Conservation recently conceded that it had no knowledge hereof. This is in spite of the fact that the provincial department is mandated with the responsibility of providing inputs for Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA’s) on all developments that have an impact on the Northern Cape environment.
During the Environment Department’s first quarter performance presentation at the legislature recently, the department admitted that, with regards to the nuclear deal, “all we know is what we read.”
This has set of major alarm bells, as it means that there has not been consultation with the Northern Cape on this matter.
While the DA understands that nuclear power is a national competency, this doesn’t excuse the provincial administration from being sidelined in a deal that has major ramifications for the people of the Northern Cape.
The DA will pose a question to Premier Lucas, pertaining to the proposed nuclear power deal, at Tuesday’s scheduled question time session in Kuruman.
We need a commitment from the Premier that, for the sake of this province and its people, she and her cabinet members will take ownership of the Northern Cape environment and that they will put the wellbeing of this province and its people first.
An instruction from the top cannot force the Northern Cape government to buckle into building nuclear power plants without procedure being followed.
We also request that the Premier tables facts on the financial cost and environmental cost of the nuclear build, and if necessary Premier Lucas should set up an engagement with Energy Minister, Tina Joemat Pettersson, to acquire first-hand information on the nuclear deal.