A South African high court sitting in Cape Town has ruled that the government of President Jacob Zuma’s proposal to procure 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear energy from Russia and the United States “is unlawful and unconstitutional.”The ruling on Wednesday makes all nuclear energy build deals that the government had pursued with Russia and the USA invalid, the court said.
Estimated to cost over US$70 billion to the National Treasury, the controversial nuclear build programme has been divisive, with the country’s opposition parties and civil society against going forward with the deals due to the extremely high costs.
One of these civil society bodies, Earthlife Africa, dragged the government to court to stop the nuclear deals whose discussions were described as not being transparent.
Western Cape High Court Judge Lee Bozalek agreed with the NGO’s petition that the government had flouted due process by not first debating in Parliament its plans and decision to procure the nuclear power.
The case was first brought to court in 2015, with Earthlife Africa arguing that the government had not consulted the public or parliament during the process.
Earthlife Africa also contended that taxpayers could not afford the over US$70 billion bill for the nuclear deals with Russia and the USA.