Tag Archives: Malusi Gigaba

South Africa – ANC to meet Chamber of Mines as Fitch ratings criticises mining charter

News24

Matthew le Cordeur

Mosebenzi Zwane (Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24)

Cape Town – The African National Congress (ANC) is expected to meet the Chamber of Mines on Tuesday concerning the Mining Charter, as Fitch Ratings said the new laws will deter investment.

The ANC meeting follows allegations that it was not properly consulted by Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, who gazetted the new laws last week.

The Mining Charter will force mining firms to restructure their ownership to ensure they have 30% black ownership within 12 months. It will also require a 51% black shareholding in all new prospecting licences.

According to the Business Day, the ANC’s economic transformation committee will meet with the Chamber of Mines, which is set to take the matter to court over a lack of consultation.

The meeting is said to include former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, Zwane, ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, ANC treasurer Zweli Mkhize and ANC national executive committee members Enoch Godongwana, Ebrahim Patel and Gugile Nkwinti.

Fitch: Charter will hit investment

The meeting comes as Fitch Ratings criticised the new laws, saying it will deter investment.

“Mining investment has already been hit by the fall in commodity prices, relatively high costs and uncertainty about the new rules,” it said in a statement on Monday.

“The charter may also weaken business and investor sentiment in other sectors by raising fears of more onerous policies. Business confidence in the second quarter fell to the lowest level since the financial crisis, likely weakened by political developments.

“The revision to rules applying to South Africa’s mining sector supports our view that the direction of economic policy has changed following March’s cabinet reshuffle.

“It indicates that the government is prioritising radical transformation even if this leads to weakening of the business climate and could reduce trend growth.”

Fitch: A more radical approach

Fitch said the new charter is the result of a more radical approach.

“Uncertainty about final outcomes, the implications on returns for existing shareholders of the new provisions, and the challenges of meeting procurement targets will continue to constrain investment in the mining sector, which accounts for about 7% of GDP,” Fitch said.

Fitch warned that weaker trend GDP growth than ratings peers, cause in part by the deteriorating investment climate, is a key sovereign rating weakness for South Africa.

“A further weakening in trend growth would make fiscal consolidation more difficult,” it said. “The authorities aim to reduce the consolidated government budget deficit to 3.1% of GDP in 2017/2018 from 3.4% the previous year, but these targets look ambitious in the face of under-performing growth.”

Fitch downgraded South Africa’s sovereign rating to junk status (BB+) with a stable outlook in April, reflecting its view that political events, including the cabinet reshuffle, would weaken standards of governance and public finances. It affirmed this rating on 1 June.

A recap on the Mining Charter:

South Africa – Captura Continua: Will the Guptas determine the ANC succession race?

Daily Maverick (South Africa)

    • Ranjeni Munusamy
      ranjeni munusami BW

 

ranjeni-Succession-post-GuptaLeaks.jpg

Three weeks after the Guptas’ private email correspondence began cascading into the public domain, revealing the depth of the capture of the South African state, we are yet to see outrage and a fightback from the ANC. The party elected to govern by South African people, but now essentially cuckolded by the Guptas, has shown it is powerless against the family. The Guptas appear to be still pushing buttons behind the scenes and their main focus is to ensure that they stack the deck at the ANC’s 54th national conference, mostly to secure their new Number One. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY. 20

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has publicly accepted nomination for the position of ANC president, making her the first woman in the history of the 105-year-old organisation to contest the top leadership post. But far from this being a notable moment in history, it is the occasion for despair. Dlamini-Zuma has, without reservation, consented to becoming top of the ticket sponsored by the Gupta family. 31

Up to this point, one could still give Dlamini-Zuma the benefit of the doubt that she was simply riding the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) wave and would distinguish herself from the Gupta herd. But last week the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) announced its leadership slate, the first ANC structure to do so formally. 27

“Comrade Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is the president of the ANC, comrade David Mabuza as the deputy president of the ANC, Comrade Ace Magashule as the secretary general of the ANC, Comrade Nathi Mthethwa as the national chair of the ANC, DSG for monitoring and evaluation Comrade Jessie Duarte, DSG for organising and campaigns Comrade Fikile Mbalula and the treasurer general Comrade Maite Nkoana-Mashabane,” ANCYL secretary general Njabulo Nzuza announced at a media briefing following their national executive committee meeting. 29

The ANCWL’s endorsement of Dlamini-Zuma and declaration that it wanted more women in the top leadership of the party at least had the veneer of punting the gender ticket. There was no such effort by the ANCYL. Mbalula, a former ANCYL president, was nominated for a position that does not even exist constitutionally in the ANC. Besides, Mbalula is now 46 years old and can hardly qualify as a “youthful” candidate in the leadership race. The second youngest person on the ANCYL slate is Mthethwa, who at 50 years old is hardly a spring chicken himself. 24

So what is the Youth League up to? And why is Dlamini-Zuma such a willing participant in this agenda? 7

In January ANCYL president Collen Maine indicated that their choice of presidential candidate would send “shockwaves” throughout the ruling party. 12

“These candidates who have been mentioned are part of the system. They have been part of the system we want to change. We need bold leadership. We need a second revolution that will cause ruptures in the economy,” Maine told Reuters back then. 36

Either Maine overestimated the impact of their endorsement of Dlamini-Zuma or their hand was forced to change the “shockwave” candidate they had in mind. There was also talk a few months ago that the ANCYL slate would include Malusi Gigaba, now the finance minister, and Mbalula, for top posts. Clearly that did not materialise. 19

The #GuptaLeaks exposed that Maine was being scripted by the family’s PR firm Bell Pottinger to further their manufactured white monopoly capital narrative. 29

So what else are Maine and his organisation doing on behalf of the Guptas? 19

Since the release of their emails, there have been no public moves by the Guptas. They have gone to ground and not responded publicly to any of the revelations against them. Clearly the family does not believe their ecosystem has been significantly disturbed by the revelations or the reaction to them. 25

While Gigaba and his public enterprises counterpart Lynne Brown are floundering to keep their heads above water, the people who should be most affected by the leak of the tranche of emails are manoeuvring from their place of seclusion. They are doing what they do best – arranging the political playing field to protect themselves and advance the interests of their business empire. 37

There are two positions in the ANC leadership that the Guptas need in particular to keep their project on track: president and secretary general. The ANCYL slate stitches that up for them. 21

President Jacob Zuma and his son Duduzane have been worthwhile investments for the family – both performing as lead marionettes in the Gupta extravaganza. But when Zuma ceases to be ANC president, his power diminishes and he would become a lame duck in the state. Duduzane will then be expendable – unless he is able to act as middleman to the successor as well. 19

Enter Dlamini-Zuma, his stepmother and willing advocate of the “radical economic transformation” narrative that Duduzane and Bell Pottinger conjured up. 26

There have been many moments in the chaos of this year when the former African Union Commission chairperson could have distanced herself from the chaos of the Zuma presidency. If hers was to be a clean, capture-free presidency, the most obvious move would have been to put fresh air between herself from Zuma’s disastrous midnight Cabinet reshuffle. After all, as a potential president, Dlamini-Zuma would inherit the consequences of that suicidal move – a downgraded and junked economy. Surely it would make sense to separate herself from that mess. 32

It would also have been logical for Dlamini-Zuma to distance herself from the stench of the Gupta emails, especially considering they had nothing to do with her. The campaign of her main competitor, Cyril Ramaphosa, has been significantly strengthened by him speaking out against state capture and repeatedly calling for a judicial commission of inquiry into the mounting allegations. Ramaphosa’s campaign has morphed into an anti-corruption ticket basically by him stating the obvious: a full-scale, credible investigation is required. 30

But Dlamini-Zuma is doing no such thing. She is not making any effort to separate herself from the capture contagion. Clearly it serves her agenda. 41

The secretary general position is essential to control the functioning of the ANC. While the Guptas might not have captured Gwede Mantashe, his erraticism and volatility did not do much to protect the ANC from their influence. But the Guptas did have a handy insider in the office of the ANC secretary general in the form of Mantashe’s deputy, Jessie Duarte. She is entangled in their network and also exposed as talking to their script. 32

The Guptas are now looking to seize control of the office of the secretary general entirely. Free State Premier Ace Magashule is the candidate who will deliver the ANC in its entirety to the family. 34

Magashule has already been a handy asset for the Guptas, delivering massive provincial deals and feeding their media entities through the provincial coffers. His sons, Tshepiso and Thato, were exposed in the emails as having been ensnared in the Gupta network for some time. Magashule clearly has ambitions and a higher calling now. 33

Opposition to his candidacy came from a surprise source in the past few days. Mbalula indulged in a spontaneous Twitter blast in which he recommended Gauteng Premier David Makhura for the position of secretary general. 25

“Ace Magashule a definite no no no the man will finish what is remaining of our movement he will kill it inffect #Thinkingaloudbeyond,” Mbalula tweeted. This was followed by: “Ancyl let’s rally behind David Makhura as a replacement to Gweede Mantashe #ThinkingBeyondFactions”. 12

Mbalula reaffirmed his sentiments to the Sunday Times, saying he had nothing against Magashule personally but believed the secretary general position was essential to the ANC’s survival. 16

“The office of the SG comes with a lot of integrity. It must not take sides and annihilate people and run comrades to the ground,” said Mbalula. Clearly the police minister does not think too highly of the candidate nominated by the ANCYL. But Mbalula’s tweets do open the debate beyond the Gupta-endorsed slate and the faction rallying behind Ramaphosa. 12

This weekend, Gauteng ANC chairperson Paul Mashatile threw his weight behind Ramaphosa, saying he could protect the country from all forms of capture. He told the ANC’s West Rand regional general council that the ANC did not need cowards who would put the country up for sale. He also dispelled the debate over a woman president, saying the ANC needed a capable leader of whichever gender. 28

While Mashatile’s endorsement is indicative that Gauteng is likely to rally behind Ramaphosa, the province might be disorientated if there are more calls for Makhura to be deployed as a consensus candidate for secretary general. Gauteng is resolved that Mashatile should occupy one of the top six posts and has been negotiating with other provinces in this regard. 13

But all the debates and negotiations around succession might come to nothing if the ANC remains powerless to the interference of the Guptas in its processes. The infusion of dirty money to influence the votes of branch delegates has been a successful lobbying tactic in the past and will no doubt be used again. The Guptas have sufficient resources to splurge on this project, particularly as they have a massive vested interest in the outcome of the leadership elections. 28

Buying off a president has turned out to be a boon for the Guptas. Even though the state capture edifice is cracking, the Guptas know that capturing the top leadership of the ANC in December will allow them to regain their foothold and have unrestricted access to the state machinery and resources. 31

There is nothing to indicate that the ANC has the ability or willingness to stop them. The party has six months to fight off the biggest demon since apartheid – or be conquered by it. DM

  • Ranjeni Munusamy is a survivor of the Salem witch trials and has the scars to show it. She has a substantial collection of tattered t-shirts from having “been there and done it” – from government, the Zuma trials, spin-doctoring and upsetting the applecart in South African newsrooms. Following a rather unexciting exorcism ceremony, she traded her femme-fatale gear for a Macbook and a packet of Liquorice Allsorts. Her graduation Cum Laude from the School of Hard Knocks means she knows a thing or two about telling the South African story.

  • South Africa

South Africa – will Gigaba topple Zuma?

News24

2017-06-07 07:40

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.(Photo: AFP)

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.(Photo: AFP)

There has been an intense focus on the ever-shifting topography of the pro-Zuma vs anti-Zuma camps. Analysts and journalists have for months been counting heads, trying to figure out which side of the NEC is dominant, in the hope that the anti-Zuma camp will eventually be strong enough to oust the president.

As the recent NEC proved, focussing on the numbers is ever a reliable indicator of the outcome of any ANC process. The ANC simply does not take decisions by a show of hands or voting. The ANC continues to operate on the basis of consensus. If an agreement cannot be reached on this basis, the default position is to agree on a process which could lead to a consensus, or more likely by delaying the issue long enough to be forgotten or overtaken by a bigger problem.

So those who keep on hoping that enough people in the NEC will eventually jump ship to the anti-Zuma side or that enough ANC MPs will vote for his removal during a vote of no confidence against the NEC’s wishes, just don’t understand how the ANC works.

Does that mean that there is no other way of getting rid of No1? Are we stuck with President Zuma until the ANC Electoral Conference at end of the year or even, horror of all horrors, till the 2019 elections?

There have been some whispers amongst ANC cadres about the possibility of a group of senior Zuma-ites asking the president to step down. They emphasise that those involved won’t necessarily be jumping ship to the Ramaphosa camp, nor would they support Ramaphosa as the next president. The reason for such a radical move would be for their own political career advancement.

But who could be brave enough to lead such a group?

A few names have been thrown around, but if these rumours are correct, my money would be on Malusi Gigaba, our not-so-new finance minister. There is no doubt that Gigaba is ambitious and would like to be in the top job one day. He has worked hard for it and has the pedigree for it, having been, for example, ANC Youth League President for three terms (1996, 1998 and 2001). Despite Zuma’s insistence that he is promoting young people, Gigaba, who is 46 years old, is really the only younger person coming up through the ranks of the ANC with real momentum.

Despite tailoring his image to suit the position, he is still too young to take on the leadership race. He needs another five to ten years before he will be taken seriously enough in the ANC to be considered for the no 1 position. However, it is important for him to position himself correctly over the next decade or so, in order to be ready when the time comes for him to make the big move.

But this is where it gets tricky. Gigaba will know that he can easily be caught on the wrong side of history. Things are not looking good for him. Despite his best attempts to distance himself from the Guptas, his association with them follows him like the bad smell off a wet dog.

As finance minister he has tried to say the right things to everybody about everything, but his earnest delivery has not convinced many. As would have been the case for anyone who replaced Pravin Gordhan, Gigaba has found it impossible to dispel the suspicion that he is a Zupta puppet.

Being a shrewd politician, Gigaba will also know that the road from here could only lead to more media exposés, commissions of inquiry and possibly even court cases. And these do not enhance the CV of any president in waiting.

Unless…

Well, unless he can do something that will catapult him to the right side of history -something that can make him an even bigger public, business and media darling than Pravin Gordhan. Nothing would do that more speedily and effectively than being the one who plays a pivotal role in ending the Zuma era.

Of course timing is everything. Gigaba will first need to know that he will succeed in his mission. He will have to be joined by other senior Zuma-ites willing to take a long term bet on their political futures. This group will also have to be convinced that they will not be met by a revolt from the pro-Zuma camp in the NEC, so they will have to be sure that the winds of change are blowing their way.

Of course the question remains how loyal Gigaba is to the president. Despite his insistence to the contrary, rumours persist in the ANC that he is still hurt by the apology he was reportedly instructed to make to King Goodwill Zwelethini in 2015 after criticising the king’s statements during the xenophobic attacks. Yet, I have seen how closely he and the president interact in Parliament. They look very fond of each other and clearly Gigaba would not have been given his current position if that was not the case.

Then again, as we all know: There are no friends or loyalties in politics – especially not when it comes to power.

The risks are many, not least of all political suicide, but Gigaba faces a dilemma. If he has the courage to ensure the end of the Zuma rule, the rewards will be huge and will ensure his place in the history books of this country. If not he will almost certainly be part of the collateral damage of the Zupta fiasco, for which he will be harshly judged in future.

– Melanie Verwoerd is a former ANC MP and South African Ambassador to Ireland.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

South Africa – Molefe farce like the Life of Brian

Mail and GuardianMonty Python’s Life of Molefe

Not Atul: Brian Molefe was meant to be the tame finance minister in the Republic of Gupta, but one ANC faction said no. (Rodger Bosch/AFP)
Not Atul: Brian Molefe was meant to be the tame finance minister in the Republic of Gupta, but one ANC faction said no. (Rodger Bosch/AFP)

Earlier this week someone advised me to consider a career in comedy if I should ever tire of my various jobs. Sadly, I’m no comedic talent. They were confusing the comedic state of our politics with any talent of mine to generate laughter when talking about politics.

Life in the Republic of Gupta is so tragicomic that one merely needs to give a straightforward narration of what is going on, while playing some circus music or the theme song for Pinocchio in the background, and thereby also perform one’s own lie of being a comedian.

Not a week goes by these days without spectacular new lies surfacing, new evidence of state capture dripping into the public space, and the foundations of our democracy being shaken yet again.

The latest web of lies in which the Monty Pythonesque life of Brian Molefe is entangled is this week’s political lowlight.

The Eskom boss and the Eskom board’s chair, Baldwin “Ben” Ngubane, take us for fools.

The latest tomfoolery is more dangerous than usual because it involves a range of improbable statements made under oath and which are now before the courts.

These two guys would have us believe that Molefe never resigned from Eishkom. He simply went on early retirement.

It gets worse. Turns out that young Molefe isn’t old enough to qualify for early retirement, and so they snowball the lies by agreeing instead to pretend that Molefe has been on unpaid leave since the beginning of this year. I don’t believe a word of this rubbish. It is all the more shocking that these claims are made in documents before a court of law.

Not only do these people take the public for fools, they also make a mockery of judicial processes that are supposed to be respected when we are hauled before a court.

Molefe resigned. He unilaterally told us he was doing so for the sake of good corporate governance and to clear his sullied name, following the bad press for Eskom and for himself, after he was implicated in the previous public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report.

That is why Cabinet, through the shareholder representative, Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown, explicitly accepted his resignation and wished him all the best as he contemplated his next career move.

Molefe never went on early retirement and he never took unpaid leave. Who the heck takes unpaid leave and then gets sworn in as an MP of our National Assembly, a job you cannot hold if you’re in the employ of a state entity such as Eskom?

So what is going on here? It’s simple. Molefe was meant to be the next minister of finance. That is what President Atul Gupta wanted.

President Gupta is in a battle to loot from the state while a faction of the ANC tries to prevent the complete theft of state resources. Jacob Zuma is simply a Gupta henchman.

The Guptas often get what they want. They do not, however, always get what they want. Every now and then the anti-Gupta faction in the ANC scores a win.

The captured boy-child, Brian Molefe, was taken to work in Parliament with a view to joining the executive of henchman Zuma. The anti-Gupta faction inside the ANC pushed back.

In the end, Malusi Gigaba, cut from the same cloth as Molefe but not yet tainted as badly, had to be appointed minister of finance instead.

But the investment of President Gupta in young Molefe is worthless if Molefe is simply an ANC MP. Parliament does not have enough loot for the rapacious Gupta family’s liking. So Molefe had to be hastily returned to the trough of a strategic state-owned company where the Guptas need him to dish them up some more loot.

That is how we got to the current mess of lie after lie being told to justify why Molefe is back at Eishkom. It is not a matter of good faith and mistaken early retirement. It is simply Saxonwold Shebeen shenanigans.

It doesn’t help that Minister BrownNose behaves as if she is powerless. Either Eishkom lied to her about Molefe’s resignation or she, too, is captured.

If she is captured, the truth will eventually out and she will have ruined a decent career in politics. Alternatively, she was genuinely kept in the dark by Ngubane and Molefe, in which case she should resign – because her oversight role was poorly performed – or immediately use her powers more effectively to get rid of Molefe and the board.

With every day that passes and the status quo remains, the minister’s position becomes more and more untenable. What’s the point of being our shareholder representative if you cannot represent the public interest effectively?

Meanwhile, Zuma is quiet because he is not interested in governing beyond taking instructions from the parallel executive structure based at the Saxonwold Shebeen.

We are now at the mercy of an ANC at war with itself. You’d be forgiven for believing that the anti-Gupta faction is trustworthy and honest.

After all, we can do with some good news, can’t we? Don’t be naive though. Even those fighting the Guptas and Zuma are merely positioning themselves for proximity to the leftovers at the trough.

Why else were they mostly quiet until they got booted from the state or the executive, or had a falling-out with the chief Gupta henchman from Nkandla?

There are many dark days ahead – even if Eskom keeps the lights on.

Eusebius McKaiser

Eusebius McKaiser

South Africa – ANC transformation plan vague on boosting economy

News24

ANC transformation plan vague on strategies to boost economy – Soko45 minutes ago

Mills Soko

Mills Soko.

In the context of stagnant growth, the ANC’s economic transformation document is rather vague on strategies for revitalising the economy, argues Professor Mills Soko.

The ANC’s economic transformation document, which will be discussed at the national policy conference in June, provides insights into the governing party’s thinking on economic policy and direction. But it is also characterised by vagueness, omissions, generalities and silences on some of South Africa’s prevailing economic realities.

The document starts by reaffirming the ANC’s resolutions at the Mangaung conference in 2012. These revolve around, among other things, tackling unemployment, poverty and inequality; increasing state-led infrastructure investment; implementing the National Development Plan (NDP), New Growth Path (NGP) and the Industrial Policy Action Plan; transforming the mining sector; and building a developmental state.

Stating that South Africa is into its “second phase of transition from apartheid colonialism to a national democratic society,” it declares that the “ANC remains unwavering in its objective to fundamentally change the racialised and unequal structure of the South African economy and of society.”

The document calls for “radical economic transformation” to deal with historical economic inequities and cleavages. It reiterates the definition of “radical economic transformation”, outlined in President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address early this year, as “fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership, management and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African and female.”

To realise the goals of “radical economic transformation,” several necessary policy interventions are emphasised. These include: reducing unemployment and inequality; accelerating land reform; increasing black ownership and control in the economy; supporting small businesses and cooperatives; improving the employment impact of infrastructure projects; raising the level of investment; ending monopoly practices; deepening South Africa’s integration into the African economy; and asserting South Africa’s interests in the world economy.

The pursuit of these policy objectives, the document avers, will be undergirded by a developmental state, whose “most important task is to grow the South African economy as rapidly and as inclusively as possible.” Building a developmental state, therefore, is “required to lift the South African economy onto a new inclusive and employment-creating growth path.”

It is easy to agree with the broad thrust of the ANC’s document. The urgent necessity for economic transformation in South Africa cannot be denied, brushed away or downplayed. It is a matter of historical record that the roots of social and economic inequality in South Africa can be traced to the roles that colonialism and apartheid played in the development of the country’s economy.

When the ANC government came to power in 1994, it was faced with the twin challenge of implementing policies geared at redistributing income, wealth and economic power while simultaneously creating a climate favourable to the pursuit of rapid economic growth.

To this end, successive ANC governments carried out an assortment of policies – notably the Reconstruction and Development Programme, the much-maligned Growth, Employment and Redistribution strategy, the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa, and the NGP – to stabilise South Africa’s macroeconomic policies and improve its economic performance.

Despite the huge strides that have been made to reverse the apartheid legacy over the past two decades, South Africa continues to be faced with formidable challenges, including chronic skills shortage, widespread poverty, high unemployment and growing social inequality.

There is, thus, a compelling need for a more equitable distribution of economic power and for implementation of social and economic policies that will upend the racially skewed legacy. Unless South Africans are unable to effectively deal with the country’s gaping economic disparities, the political and social stability of the country will remain at risk.

It bears pointing out, however, that although the arguments set out in the ANC discussion document are broadly valid and defensible, they also raise questions that need answers. The first question relates to how “radical economic transformation” is defined: it is not clear how the proposed policies differ from previous ANC policies and whether they warrant such a definition. Is this a completely new policy or is it an adjustment of old policy? If it is the former, is the policy underpinned by a clear implementation plan with goals and objectives, a budget, targets and timelines?

Also, the policy context that necessitated “radical economic transformation” is not explained. What, for example, were the successes and failures of the NGP, and which shortcomings in previous policies is “radical economic transformation” seeking to address?

Unsurprisingly, the document – released before the recent Cabinet reshuffle – is silent on the considerable damage to the economy caused by, among other things, the controversial axing by President Jacob Zuma of former Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene. And it does not say anything about the measures that need to be carried out to restore investor confidence in the struggling economy. Likewise, in the context of stagnant growth the document is rather vague on strategies for revitalising the economy.

And although it is hard to disagree with the document’s assertion on the need for a capable state and professional public service, this will remain empty rhetoric in the absence of clear and decisive actions to deal with corruption, dysfunctional state-owned entities and the general hollowing out of public institutions.

* Professor Mills Soko is the director of the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town.

South Africa – W Cape court rules SA nuclear deal unlawful

News24

Cape Town – A court ruling declaring government’s actions to secure a nuclear build plan for South Africa unlawful, occurred on the very same day a nuclear disaster happened in Chernobyl, Russia, said Makoma Lekalakala of Earthlife Africa Johannesburg.

“The timing of the judgment, before this important day in South Africa’s history and on the day of the nuclear disaster in Russia, adds to the sense of justice being done,” she said in a statement.

Earthlife and the South African Faith Communities Environment Institute (Safcei) launched a joint court bid in October 2015 to stop government from procuring nuclear energy.

READ: Nuclear battle not over yet – OUTA

Judge Lee Bozalek on Wednesday ruled in favour of the two organisations’ court bid, declaring government’s attempts to secure 9.6 GW of nuclear energy unlawful, including the initial determination to procure nuclear energy in 2013, the cooperation agreements signed with Russia, the US and South Korea, as well as former energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson’s decision to hand over the procurement of nuclear energy to Eskom late last year.

“[The ruling was a] victory for justice and the rule of law and the people of South Africa,” said Makoma Lekalakala of Earthlife.

“After over a year and a half of court preparation for justice, Earthlife and Safcei were finally able to block the unlawful and unconstitutional actions of the South African government in its nuclear deal,” she added.

READ: FULL JUDGMENT: Nuclear process declared unlawful 

Safcei spokesperson Liziwe McDaid said the two organisations experienced considerable “delays and dirty tricks along the road to the courts”.

“But we persevered and now we have been vindicated,” she said.

SAFCEI and Earthlife based their case on the South African Constitution, McDaid said, which states that when it comes to far-reaching decisions, such as the nuclear deal, which would alter the future of our country, government is legally required to debate in Parliament and do a thorough, transparent and meaningful public consultation.

Public participation to underpin energy policy

According to Adrian Pole, legal representative for Earthlife and Safcei, the judgment means that there is no decision in terms of the relevant empowering statute that new nuclear generation capacity is needed and should be procured in South Africa.

READ: Energy minister to cough up for nuclear court costs 

“The Russian agreement has been declared unlawful and unconstitutional for its tabling. Before any nuclear procurement can proceed, the Minster of Energy in concurrence with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) will be required to make a new determination in accordance with a lawful process that is transparent and includes public participation.

“This will necessarily require disclosure of relevant information that to date has been kept from the public, including critical information on costs and affordability,” Pole said.

Project 90 by 2030 – an environmental non-profit organisation – called the court ruling a “victory for democracy”.

“Both Safcei and Earthlife are small organisations, with a handful of people working tirelessly over the last few years on this issue,” said researcher Richard Halsey. “Despite all the high level issues of state capture and patronage politics, the courts are still standing up for due process and the need to have energy planning done in a transparent and consultative manner.”

Reuters

By Wendell Roelf | CAPE TOWN

CAPE TOWN A South African pact with Russia’s Rosatom to build nuclear reactors was deemed unlawful by a High Court on Wednesday, casting fresh doubt over the country’s energy plans.

Operator of Africa’s only nuclear power station, Eskom wants to add 9,600 megawatts (MW) of nuclear capacity – equivalent to up to 10 nuclear reactors – to help wean the economy off of polluting coal in what could one of the world’s biggest nuclear contracts in decades.

South Africa and Russia signed an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) in 2014 that sealed a cooperation pact between state-owned nuclear group Rosatom and state-owned utility Eskom.

Judge Lee Bozalek said any request for information to kickstart the procurement process was set aside as was the cooperation pact. The deal had included a favourable tax regime for Russia and placed heavy financial obligations on South Africa, Bozalek said.

“Seen as a whole, the Russian IGA stands well outside the category of a broad nuclear cooperation agreement, and at the very least, sets the parties well on their way to a binding, exclusive agreement in relation to the procurement of new reactor plants from that particular country,” Bozalek said.

The Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute (SAFCEI) and Earthlife Africa-Johannesburg had jointly filed the court application to stop the nuclear programme.

“There are no more secret deals and everything has to be done in the open,” said SAFCEI spokeswoman Liz McDaid.

It was not clear whether the government would appeal the ruling.

The government has downplayed the agreement with Russia, saying it was not a final contract and that an open tender process would still be conducted.

The Department of Energy said the government “has not entered into any deal or signed any contract for the procurement of nuclear power,” adding that it has signed IGA’s with the United States, South Korea, China, Russia, and France.

The head of South African nuclear state agency said last year that Rosatom was not the frontrunner and that the tender would be open to all bidders.

Eskom Chief Nuclear Officer Dave Nicholls said: “We haven’t been through the judgement yet so we can’t comment.”

Rosatom officials in Moscow and in Johannesburg said the company “could not comment on legal disputes between South African entities that do not directly involve us.”

The main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party said the nuclear battle would now return to parliament and it would use all its powers to block the deal.

NUCLEAR OPTION

After the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima led many countries to cut back nuclear programmes, South Africa is one of the few still considering a major new reactor project and the tender is eagerly awaited by manufacturers from South Korea, France, the United States and China.

With U.S. firm Westinghouse in Chapter 11 proceedings and France’s Areva being restructured, Rosatom’s two main competitors are hamstrung by financial difficulties, boosting the Russian firm’s chances.

China has little experience building reactors abroad and Korea’s KEPCO has only one major foreign reactor contract, in the United Arab Emirates.

France, which built South Africa’s two existing reactors, is keen to stay in the race and utility EDF – which is taking over Areva’s reactor manufacturing unit – said last month it would respond to Pretoria’s “request for information”.

Eskom sees nuclear as an option to replace coal-fired power, but some economists, however, have questioned whether the country’s ailing economy can afford a nuclear building programme they estimate could cost around 1 trillion rand ($76 billion).

Some pundits say former finance minister Pravin Gordhan was fired partly because he resisted pressured by a faction allied to President Jacob Zuma to back nuclear expansion.

New Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has said nuclear expansion will only be pursued if it is affordable.

The ruling would not stop the nuclear plan, analysts said.

Travis Hough, business unit leader for energy & environment at consultancy Frost & Sullivan Africa, said: “This is most probably just another bump in the road and nothing is going to derail the nuclear programme.”

(Additional reporting by Mfuneko Toyana in Johannesburg, Jack Stubbs in Moscow and Geert De Clercq in Paris; Editing by James Macharia)

 

South Africa – Maimane says “our children” will be paying for it if Gigaba signs nuclear deal

News24

2017-04-18 18:00

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane has called on South Africans from all provinces to stand against President Jacob Zuma

Polokwane – South Africa will forever be in debt if new Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba endorses a proposed nuclear deal, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said on Tuesday.

Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas had been bulldozed out of the ministry to pave the way for a the deal, he told party supporters in Polokwane during a march against President Jacob Zuma.

“I oppose nuclear, because it means our children and their grandchildren will be indebted to nuclear and we don’t need nuclear. They want nuclear, not for the energy of South Africans, but for the benefit of Jacob Zuma and his children.”

Maimane told a cheering crowd that the DA would continue staging marches until Zuma left office. He asked ANC members to join the fight.

“South Africa is asking you now to do the honourable thing, to live for the ideals of Nelson Mandela, to stand for South Africa.”

He said South Africans were looking to political leaders to do something. The last two marches against Zuma were a reminder that citizens could unite and stop racism.

Zuma had claimed that the first march to the Union Buildings, on April 7, was motivated by racism.

Maimane said Zuma was playing the race card against people standing up to his decision to fire Gordhan and Jonas.

“When we march against Jacob Zuma, he says it’s only the white people who are marching against him. We are here to tell him it’s not black people, it’s not white people, it’s not coloured people, it’s not Indian people. It is South Africans standing together.

“We are standing united and nobody can divide us. We will fight for the dream of Nelson Mandela.”

Maimane said the ANC and Zuma were opposed to MPs voting by secret ballot in the vote of no confidence against him, because it was for the good of the country. The vote, initially scheduled for Tuesday, was postponed for the Constitutional Court to hear an application by the UDM that MPs be allowed to cast their votes in secret.

Former president Nelson Mandela and struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada were symbols of the good leadership which the ruling party was losing, Maimane said.

The children of the present generation would one day start asking uncomfortable questions.

“One day our children will ask us, were you a good person or were you a bad person? Were you a non-racial South African or were you a racist South African?

“Were you a South African who protects the Constitution, or were you a South African who violates the Constitution? Were you a South African who is corrupt like the Guptas, or a South African who wants to provide for all South Africans?”

Maimane said Zuma would spend his retirement in jail.

“He thinks he is going to retire in Nkandla. I am saying to him ‘no, no, no you are going to retire in Sun City Maximum Prison’.”