Government lawyers miss third deadline in nuke court case

Press release 3rd June 2016

Government has failed to meet the legal deadline of 31st May. By close of business on Monday, government had once again failed to deliver its responding papers to the applicants, ELA-Jhb and SAFCEI.

This is the third deadline in as many weeks that the Minister of Energy, Joemat-Pettersson, has failed to comply with.

Government failed to respond by the 13th, and asked for an extension until the 20th May 2016. Earthlife and SAFCEI then instructed their lawyers to issue a rule 30A notice, which gave the government until the 31st May to respond.

On Tuesday 1 June, our attorneys were advised that the answering affidavit has been drafted, is currently being reviewed by the Office of the Presidency, and that the State Attorney hopes to be in a position to file it on or about 7 June 2016.

“As civil society, we have had excuses and delays from the state attorney since we launched our court case at the end of 2015, “commented Dominique Doyle, ELA spokesperson, “so now the response to our court papers is stuck at the Office of the Presidency for approval, and we are promised we can get it next week – we will believe it when we see it”.

If this latest deadline is missed, the SAFCEI/ ELA-Jhb legal team will approach the courts to force government to comply with the legal timeframes. If government still stalls and doesn’t comply, SAFCEI and ELA Jhb legal team will ask the courts to strike out the government defence and our application would then be unopposed.

“We believe that this consistent failure to comply with the legal timeframes points to an unaccountable government,” says Liz McDaid, SAFCEI spokesperson.

ENDS

ISSUED BY SAFCEI and Earthlife Africa Johannesburg 3 June 2016

For further information, please contact
Ms Liz McDaid (SAFCEI) Ms Dominique Doyle (ELA-Jhb)
Email: liziwe@mweb.co.za email: dominique@earthlife.org.za

Cell: 082 731 5643 cell: 079 331 2028

Note for journalists:

Originally, the government announced that the Russian agreement was a done deal but later backtracked after public outcry, and now, according to President Zuma, claims that South Africa would build nuclear reactors “on a scale and pace that our country can afford”1. ELA/SAFCEI maintain, as per our founding papers, that the Russian agreement was entered into unlawfully but makes internationally binding commitment to buy a fleet of nuclear reactors from Russia.

On 21 December 2015, the DoE gazetted the 2013 section 34 determination, supposedly allowing the Department to go ahead and start a procurement process to buy nuclear reactors.
Supporting documentation provided to SAFCEI and ELA’s legal team on the 16th February 2016 revealed this deliberate attempt by DoE to keep the public in the dark about its nuclear procurement process.
Our founding affidavit can be downloaded at: http://earthlife.org.za/2015/10/in-the-high-court-of-south-africa-western-cape-division-cape-town-3/ and on http://safcei.org/latest-update-on-our-nuclear-court-action/ .
SAFCEI www.safcei.org
Earthlife Africa Joburg www.earthlife.org.za
Lawyers representing ELA-JHB and SAFCEI are Adrian Pole and Associates.
1 President Jacob Zuma, State of the Nation Address, 2016

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