High Court strikes down Russia-SA nuclear deal – all proposals declared unconstitutional

The High Court has issued a major ruling in favour of Earthlife Africa (ELA) and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI), setting aside the nuclear deal between South Africa and Russia with immediate effect, according to a report by eNCA.

ELA and SAFCEI argued that the processes followed by government and Eskom leading up to the decision to sign agreements with Russia, and the Section 34 Determination to procure nuclear power, were illegal and not in line with constitutionally sound administrative decision-making.

In addition, eNCA noted that the judgement is expected to seriously impact government and Eskom’s ability to bed down a nuclear deal in the immediate future as the court set aside all proposed nuclear deals, declaring them unlawful and unconstitutional.

Judge Lee Bozalek also declared that the minister’s decision over the same time period to table certain other nuclear agreements before Parliament were also unlawful and unconstitutional, reported News24

These include the agreement for cooperation between SA and the US regarding peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and an agreement between SA and the Republic of Korea regarding cooperation between the two countries in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Opposition and other interested parties had previously indicated that the Russia-South Africa deal alone was likely to cost well over a R1 trillion and would “bankrupt” the country in the process.

“This court case revolved around whether lawful procedures were followed – and those laws are not there just for show,” said Earthlife Africa’s Liz McDade.

“That is to make sure that R1-trillion, if we’re going to spend that, then everybody in South Africa needs to know what its going to be spent on and whether we really need it.”

Eskom and the SA government are likely to take the judgement on appeal.

Read: Eskom admits trying to dodge procurement procedures for nuclear deal

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High Court strikes down Russia-SA nuclear deal – all proposals declared unconstitutional