We have detected that the browser you are using is no longer supported. As a result, some content may not display correctly.
We suggest that you upgrade to the latest version of any of the following browsers:
The Minister of Energy, Dipuo Peters’s cagey answers on DA questions relating to South Africa’s energy infrastructure programme and policy suggests that she is either entirely out of her depth or purposefully secretive about matters of public interest in her department.
Recent examples of the Ministers attempts to escape accountability includes the following:
According to the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), Pelindaba is housing 600kg of weapons-grade uranium, sufficient to build 20 nuclear bombs. Recent security breaches of the perimeters are therefore concerning. To confirm the information, my colleague Lance Greyling asked the minister whether highly enriched uranium is currently being stored at Pelindaba. She replied that the uranium stockpile is classified ‘and therefore cannot be disclosed publically’. If the minister had nothing to hide, she would have given us a straight answer.
The veil of secrecy around all things nuclear was tightened when the Minister refused to answer a question about whether the Nuclear Energy Company of South Africa (Necsa) has made any payments to Klydon Pty Ltd, a uranium-enrichment company, over the last three years. Again, the minister’s reply hat these transactions are ‘commercially sensitive’ simply does not exonerate her from responsibilities of public disclosure. Necsa is a public company and transparency regarding payments is especially critical in nuclear, an industry notorious for secrecy, intrigue and bribery.
The minister also has a penchant for passing the buck. The recent bitumen shortage has been well publicised. Bitumen is a key ingredient for road construction. Its lack of supply has delayed completion of one of Cape Town’s major road projects. In April, the City of Cape Town had to import 45,000 tonnes of bitumen from Malaysia at great cost. The City has appealed to the Energy and Transport Ministry to intervene to secure a reliable and predictable supply of bitumen to no avail. In reply to the DA’s parliamentary questions as to whether her department has a comprehensive business plan with regard to South Africa’s bitumen requirements, the minister responded that the question falls outside her mandate. We would like to inform the minister that bitumen is a by-product of crude petroleum and therefore falls squarely within her mandate. Passing the buck to other departments indicates the kind of collective governance failures for which this government is becoming famous.
We have today written to the leader of government business to call on him to instruct the Minister to answer the questions properly. The Minister of Energy’s propensity for non-answers shows an unwillingness to take transparency, competence and accountability seriously. The DA will continue to hold her to account.