26 March 2023 | 01:53 PM

Advocacy Update: Victory for amaB and civil society in push for nuclear transparency

Advocacy Update- Victory for amaB and civil society in push for nuclear transparency

Key Takeaways

Parliament’s energy portfolio committee confirmed on Friday (November 18, 2016) that the department of energy’s briefing on the procurement of nuclear power stations will be open.

This followed a letter sent by the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism attorneys to the committee, saying that amaBhungane and a civil society coalition intended to proceed with an urgent interdict.

Read amaBhungane’s first lawyers letter

Earlier in the week, committee chair Fikile Majola was quoted in Business Day as saying the meeting would be held in camera.

AmaBhungane instructed its attorneys, Webber Wentzel, to demand the committee open the briefing to the media and public, failing which we would bring an urgent High Court application.

AmaBhungane was to be joined by a coalition of civil society organisations including the Right2Know Campaign, the Open Democracy Advice Centre, Council for the Avancement of the South African Constitution and the Dullah Omar Institute.

When Majola did not reply, amaBhungane’s attorneys sent him a second letter on Friday saying that we would proceed with the application.

Read amaBhungane’s second lawyers letter

Majola then wrote back, denying he had made the decision. “I need to inform you that I can never make such a decision. I clearly informed members that the house chairperson … advised that it is the committee that must make such a decision.

As a matter of fact, the committee never considered or deliberated on whether or not the nuclear meeting on Tuesday, 29 November 2016 should be a closed session.

He said the briefing “will thus be open to the public”.

AmaBhungane regards this as a victory for transparency and accountability.

The nuclear power stations, if they are built, may cost R1-trillion and be South Africa’s biggest procurement yet. The process has been shrouded in secrecy despite government promises of a fair and transparent process.

AmaBhungane has reported extensively on the hugely controversial project, which critics fear could bankrupt the country.

AmaBhungane has also used the Promotion of Access to Information Act to try to gain access to records relating to the procurement, including affordability studies.

These applications were dismissed by the department and minister of energy.

The amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism produced this story. Like it? Bean amaB supporter and help us domore. Know more? Send us
a tip-off.


Share this story:


Aisha Abdool Karim

Aisha is a freelance science and health reporter. She is joining the amaB team to work on a project about water and sanitation. Aisha’s passion for long-form narrative and investigative journalism was sparked while doing her master’s degree at Columbia University in New York. After graduating in 2018, she returned to South Africa and began working as a general beat reporter for the Daily Maverick. Aisha joined the Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism in 2020 to focus on science reporting. During her time there, she covered the COVID-19 pandemic extensively — from fact-checking harmful medical misinformation to unpacking the science behind vaccine development. Aisha’s special interests include analysing health systems and in-depth coverage of public health issues and infectious diseases. She also loves spreadsheets and digging through data.

Your identity is safe with us. Email or Call us


Related Stories