Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, Greenpeace Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (Safcei) have officially filed a notice informing the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) that they intend to jointly appeal the environmental authorisation for the construction and operation of a new nuclear power station in Duynefontein, just north of Koeberg, in the Western Cape.
“We believe the environmental-impact assessment’s (EIA’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,” Greenpeace Africa climate and energy campaigner Penny-Jane Cooke said.
The EIA process has been under way 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,” the organisations said in a joint statement issued on Tuesday.
"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 Jacob Zuma and his shuffled Ministers, who want to build a new nuclear power plant near Koeberg,” said Safcei executive director Francesca de Gasparis.
She added that independent science was clear about the most suitable energy solutions for South Africa’s people and the economy, and it did not include nuclear energy.
“As a multi-faith constituency, we call for ethical governance and affordable and just energy solutions for South Africa. 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,” she stated.
Earthlife Africa Johannesburg senior programmes officer Makoma Lekalakala stressed that the DEA had to safeguard the environmental rights of all South Africans.
“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 EIA report, which was based on outdated, and incomplete information, as well as assumptions that are not justified or justifiable. We believe this authorisation stands to be set aside on appeal.”
The detailed appeal will be submitted by the end of November, and the organisations are seeking legal advice in terms of the way forward.