State-owned electricity utility Eskom may re-advertise notices relating to its Nuclear Installation Site Licence (NISL) applications for Thyspunt, in the Eastern Cape, and Duynefontyn, in the Western Cape, having acknowledged that a notice published in the Eastern Cape Provincial Gazette on August 8, failed to comply with the 30-day comment period prescribed in the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) Act.
Earlier Eskom had insisted that it had complied with the NNR’s prescribed processes, after Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) alleged that it was attempting to side-step public participation processes by publishing notices in provincial gazettes rather than the National Gazette, which had shortened the comment deadline to below the 30 days.
In a statement released on Friday, Eskom said it published NISL notices in ten newspapers in and around the two sites on July 29, as well as in the Western Cape Provincial Gazette.
However, the notice in Eastern Cape Provincial Gazette had been published on only August 8, which meant it failed to comply with the NNR Act’s prescribed 30 days for public comment.
Outa slammed the publication of the notice in the Eastern Cape Provincial Gazette and said the shortened comment period negated the “spirit and constitutional rights for the public to participate in decisions that affect them”.
Eskom said it was in discussions with the NNR to extend the comment period for interested and affected parties and indicated that it might re-advertise the notice in the Eastern Cape Provincial Gazette, as well as in the National Gazette to give more time for public comment.
“Eskom will communicate once the NNR has given a response,” Eskom said in a statement.