By Andrew Louw MPL, DA Northern Cape Provincial Leader:
The DA’s concerns that national government has been entertaining the nuclear deal without following due processes has been confirmed by Northern Cape Premier Sylvia Lucas.
In response to a question posed to the premier during a recent House Sitting at the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature, Lucas firmly stated that provincial government doesn’t take kindly to the fact that the nuclear issue has been brought to them as passive recipients.
This serves to highlight the fact that Energy Minister, Tina Joemat-Petterrson, who hails from the Northern Cape, has been pushing her own agenda with talks of the nuclear build project. This is in spite of the fact that the nuclear deal is set to directly affect a number of provinces which have been earmarked for the establishment of nuclear power stations.
The consequences of the nuclear deal are even more for the Northern Cape, which houses the only nuclear waste disposal facility in the entire country.
Given the ramifications of the nuclear deal on all the people of this country, it is astounding that Joemat-Pettersson and national government have chosen to marginalize inputs from provincial government on this precarious deal.
According to Lucas, she has out of her own engaged in a discussion with the National Minister whereby it was established that the nuclear deal was at a very initial stage. Lucas further said that, pending international agreements, she would insist that there be consultation with the province on this matter going forward.
A lack of consultation on the nuclear deal previously came to light when the Northern Cape Department of Environment and Nature Conservation conceded that it also 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.
The DA welcomes the assurance given by Lucas that she will not allow national government to impose any nuclear related projects on the province without proper processes, such as involvement of provincial government, being followed.
In this heated political climate, where it has become clear that there is division within the ANC and Cabinet on the matter of the nuclear deal, it takes a lot for a Premier to take ownership of her province.
An instruction from the top, cannot force the Northern Cape government to buckle into building nuclear power plants. And we are relieved that Premier Sylvia Lucas seems to agree with us on this.