Government dragging its heels in nuclear court case

  • Published:

Press release 17th May 2016

According to the court rules, Friday 13th was the day government was supposed to respond to civil society’s application to the high court, but failed to deliver their answering affidavits by this date.

“We have instructed our lawyers to apply to the court to force the government to respond,” stated liziwe McDaid, SAFCEI spokesperson. “We believe that the government is once again dragging its heels in responding”,

SAFCEI launched its court papers on October 12th 2015, and then waited for months for the Minister of Energy to provide the records of the decisions being challenged. In that period, SAFCEI and ELA generously allowed the government extensions which eventually meant that government only provided the requisite documents on 16th February 2016.    The nature of these documents led to a SAFCEI and ELA amending and supplementing its court papers, and the government deadline for responding to them was the 13th May 2016.

On the 6 May 2016, the state attorney’s office wrote to our legal team, asking for further extended timeframe. While SAFCEI and ELA will accept service of the answering affidavits on 20 May 2016, they have instructed their lawyers to issue a rule 30A notice to protect against further delays. The rule 30A notice was served on the State Attorney today.

SAFCEI and ELA have taken the government to court to stop what they believe is a flawed and illegal non transparent nuclear procurement process.   “Sensible South Africans want to see good governance.  The constitution and the laws of the country require a fair and transparent nuclear procurement process, and it is not a fair and transparent process when government makes decisions behind closed doors. Nor can it be fair and transparent while the government continually delays the matter from being aired in the courts.  If following the laws of the land becomes optional, then that will open the doors wide to corruption and government capture.” said SAFCEI Executive Director, Buddist Venerable Tsondru.


For further information, please contact

Ms Liz McDaid (SAFCEI)


Cell: 082 731 5643

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: and on .


Earthlife Africa Joburg

Lawyers representing ELA-JHB and SAFCEI are Adrian Pole and Associates.

[1] President Jacob Zuma, State of the Nation Address, 2016