Parliament going backwards into the dark ages

16 November 2016

Press release: Parliament going backwards into the dark ages

According to media reports, Parliament is going to discuss the nuclear deal in secret.

This seems to be more nuclear fall-out from the Public Protector’s State Capture report.  First the Cabinet confirmed that the nuclear procurement deal will be Eskom’s to run with, then the Public Protector revealed the extraordinary close links between Eskom CEO, Mr Brian Molefe, and the Guptas which ended in tears as Mr Molefe resigned.

Last week, Parliament held another vote of no confidence in the President which didn’t pass.  However, this week reveals further tightening by those desperate to hold on to their vested interests.

Two years ago and at regular intervals since, the Minister Joemat-Pettersen has assured the public that the nuclear procurement process will be fair and transparent.  This was echoed by President Zuma and Finance Minister Gordhan and Nene.   In Parliament, the Chair of Energy Portfolio Committee, Mr Fikile Majola, repeatedly stated that there should be public hearings on this matter but nothing has transpired.

Instead, ominously, Mr Majola is now closing down any space for the public to find out what is happening with this nuclear deal.   Instead of listening to the public, Parliament has decided to exclude citizens from any information about the nuclear deal.

According to the constitution, the National Assembly may not exclude the public, including the media, from a sitting of a committee unless it is reasonable and justifiable to do so in an open and democratic society.

“This matter is in the public interest, and must be debated and aired transparently,” states SAFCEI spokesperson Liz McDaid, “What is it that we are not allowed to know? Why is it secret now, four weeks before we go to court?”

This reinforces the public perception that government has something to hide in this nuclear issue.

SAFCEI and Earthlife Africa JHB will be in the Cape Town High Court on 13th and 14th December 2016, challenging the government’s nuclear deal with Russia, as well as the decision of government to procure a fleet of nuclear reactors (which was made in 2013 and kept secret for two years).

ENDS

For further information, please contact:

Ms Liziwe 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 

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