Civil action group Outa has appealed to South Africans to comment on nuclear procurement plans, which the group says Eskom tried to sneak past the public participation process by gazetting them in a provincial documents.
The National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) and Eskom are attempting to license new Nuclear construction sites by ‘hiding’ the notice in the Eastern Cape Provincial Gazette (rather than the National Gazette) and shortening the deadline to below the 30 days, as required by law, Outa said.
This move his highly dubious, the group said, as legally, if the public fails to comment on a gazette it is deemed to constitute acceptance of the proposal, and thus cannot easily be challenged legally at a later stage.
Eskom applied for a site licence to develop a nuclear reactor/power plant at Thyspunt (near Jeffrey’s Bay) and at the existing Koeberg (Duynefontein) nuclear site.
“This move negates the spirit and constitutional rights for the public to participate in decisions that affect them. Outa believes that this covert move occurred because the players thought if the public did not notice, they could slip the gazette through unchallenged,” the civil group said.
“Outa finds it critical that as many members of the public as possible should comment – and as such, we have prepared a participation portal and made it easy for the public to submit comments on this Gazette.”
Gazette comments are not the same as petitions, as government has the obligation to demonstrate they have taken account of all gazette comments made by interested and affected parties, before forging ahead with their action.
Failing to do so, Government faces the possibility of a legal challenge at a later stage. However, if the public fail to comment, then no legal challenge will be possible.
- Comment on the nuclear plans can be made by following this link and submitting comment before the deadline of the 29th of August.