MPs raise alarm over nuclear build oversight

Energy Minister Joemat-Pettersson will recommend to Cabinet that Eskom becomes the designated procurer.

Tina Joemat-Pettersson. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Alarm bells are ringing over plans to put Eskom in charge of procurement for the country's nuclear build programme.

Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson has confirmed she will recommend to Cabinet that the power utility becomes the designated procurer.

But during a briefing of Parliament's energy committee yesterday, concerns were raised that this could result in the deal being sealed without proper oversight.

Joemat-Pettersson says Eskom will raise the funds by borrowing against its own balance sheet and tried to assure Members of Parliament (MPs) that the deal will be transparent and free of corruption.

Not everyone was convinced, with opposition MPs questioning the need for so much nuclear power and its cost.

Committee chair Fikile Majola also had questions: "What does this mean for parliamentary oversight and what does this mean in particular for the role of the portfolio committee on energy?"

Majola says another big concern is the danger of an oversupply of energy, given the country's poor economic growth forecasts.

"As South Africans, we must be concerned about whether is there a possibility that this would happen and what would be the cost to the economy?"