ANC slams claims SA can't afford nuclear power

Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe says claims SA can’t afford nuclear power are 'mischievous'.

African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede Mantashe. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC)'s Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe says claims that South Africa can't afford nuclear power are 'mischievous'.

The party's senior leadership met in Irene over the past three days to discuss the economy, the country's energy mix, the upcoming local government elections and other issues of importance.

South Africa's nuclear ambitions have been extremely controversial, with fierce opposition from some political parties and civil society amid concerns about possible corruption.

Mantashe says the overall cost of nuclear energy, in comparison to how much is spent on running coal-powered stations, makes nuclear a viable option.

"They don't at all those power stations say this is the cost of coal, but for some mischievous and strange reason when they talk about nuclear they take a universal figure for that and say this is the cost of nuclear energy."

Mantashe says investing in nuclear now will benefit future generations.

"Nuclear, as part of the energy mix, is quite important for South Africa for its technology, for its research and for future generations of this country,"

While Cabinet has endorsed nuclear power, National Treasury has expressed caution, saying this can only happen if the budget allows it.