Penny-Jane Cooke, Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Africa, says ‘We believe that the Environmental Impact Assessment’s failure to properly assess the impacts of the proposed nuclear power station creates a real risk. If this project goes ahead, it will infringe the environmental rights of both present and future generations. This authorisation can and must be challenged.’ The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process has been underway for nearly a decade, and has been heavily contested by affected communities and broader South African society because of the potentially far-reaching implications of the construction of a new nuclear power station. Choosing a site in the midst of Cape Town will only fuel the resistance that has dogged nuclear plans from the moment that they were announced. Francesca de Gasparis, Executive Director at the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) says, ‘SAFCEI – along with Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, Greenpeace Africa, the #UniteBehind campaign, and many civil society and engaged community partners – invite everyone to join the #StopCorruptNuclearSA campaign. We are saying ‘No’ to President Zuma and his shuffled ministers, who want to build a new nuclear power plant near Koeberg outside of Cape Town.’ Says de Gasparis, ‘Independent science is clear about the most suitable energy solutions for the South African people and the economy, and it does not include nuclear energy. As a multi-faith constituency, we call for ethical governance and affordable, and just energy solutions for South Africa now. In our role as custodians of the living earth, we strongly advocate for an energy plan that invests in and includes much more renewable energy, sustainable jobs and less damage and risk to citizens, and the environment.’
Makoma Lekalakala, Senior Programmes Officer for Earthlife Africa, Johannesburg says, ‘The Department of Environmental Affairs must safeguard the environmental rights of all South Africans and we feel that they have failed in this duty by authorising the construction of this nuclear power station. The Department has chosen to follow the recommendations of a flawed Environmental Impact Assessment report, which were based on outdated, and incomplete information, as well as assumptions that are not justified or justifiable. We believe that this authorisation stands to be set aside on appeal.’ The detailed appeal was submitted at the end of November and the organisations are seeking legal advice in terms of the way forward.