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Mahlobo could face barrage of legal hurdles over nuclear plans

The DA has warned it's closely watching the process David Mahlobo is following to fast-track government's nuclear build programme.

FILE: Minister David Mahlobo. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Any plans by Energy Minister David Mahlobo to speed up the acquisition of nuclear energy could face a barrage of legal hurdles.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has warned it's closely watching the process Mahlobo is following to fast-track government's nuclear build programme.

This follows weekend reports that Mahlobo has allegedly instructed officials to finalise a new Integrated Resource Plan which will spell out the country's energy needs before the end of the month.

The Integrated Resource Plan has not been updated since 2010.

When Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane became Energy Minister in March, she announced an updated version will only be finalised in February.

The DA’s Gordon Mackay has warned if the revised document does not take into account public input, which is largely opposed to nuclear, it will open the door to at least one of several possible legal challenges.

“Going from a document that said no to nuclear until 2035, to one that says there is a need for nuclear clearly demonstrates that there’s something fishy with the process, and that process will have to be interrogated in court.”

Mackay says a plan that argues for nuclear power as necessary for the country’s energy security will also be open to legal scrutiny because of the high cost involved.