DA: Gigaba must announce termination of nuclear programme at mid-term budget

The Democratic Alliance spelt out its expectations for the mid-term budget speech at a briefing earlier on Monday.

FILE: Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) says Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba should announce the termination of the government’s ambitious nuclear build programme when he presents his mid-term budget review on Wednesday.

The opposition party says last week’s appointment of former state security minister David Mahlobo to oversee energy signalled President Jacob Zuma’s determination to speed up the implementation of the nuclear build programme.

The DA spelt out its expectations for the mid-term budget speech at a briefing earlier on Monday.

Gigaba has himself indicated that the programme is not affordable until the economy improves.

The DA’s finance spokesperson David Maynier says Gigaba should now ditch the plans for more nuclear power stations.

“The nuclear build programme may cost up to R1.2 trillion over a period of perhaps 20 to 30 years, and has the capacity to ‘blow up’ the balance sheet.”

His deputy Alf Lees says Gigaba has little option but to provide the R10 billion bailout needed by South African Airways, but says it’s a mystery how this will be funded in a budget-neutral way.

“We believe the minister should put the national airline into business rescue with a view to stabilising then privatising South African Airways.”

Other state-owned enterprises, including the South African post office, also need government’s help.

(Edited by Zinhle Nkosi)