The Portfolio Committee on Energy conducted an oversight visit at the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (NECSA) in Phelindaba. The visit on Wednesday was to primarily study what happens at Phelindaba, NECSA site, and for the Committee to assess if NECSA is ready for the new nuclear build programme.
The Committee said government needs to speak openly about the nuclear build programme. Chairperson for the Committee, Mr Fikile Majola said, “Government needs to engage the country on the positive and negative aspects of the build programme, issues of confidentiality need to be explained where they exist”.
The Committee is of the view that the country needs to have a discussion on the procurement process of the nuclear build programme. Mr Majola said members of Parliament need to engage with relevant stakeholders, “We need to remove the secrecy surrounding the build programme and have a public discourse on the issue”.
During its engagement with the officials, the Committee expressed dissatisfaction towards NECSA for not being forthcoming with the report of an investigation that was conducted looking into nuclear state owned companies. The enquiry was commissioned by the Department of Energy (DoE) to inspect corporate and governance issues of the entity.
Members of the Committee questioned what NECSA’s role would be on the nuclear build programme. Responding, the DoE said NECSA role on the nuclear build programme is clearly defined in the legislation
The Committee welcomed the localisation aspect included in the nuclear build programme, members of the Committee said this would create employment opportunities and will contribute to skills development.
Mr Majola said Parliament needs to find a mechanism of a coordinated approach that will bring Committees together to deal and focus on the nuclear build programme.
During the oversight, the Committee conducted a walkabout at Phelindaba touring different sites of the facility namely, the nuclear skills development centre, the nuclear manufacturing centre, Pelchem, NTP Radioisootopes and Safari-1 reactor.
The Committee was impressed by the medical products produced by NTP, particularly the products used to detect cancer. The Committee encouraged NECSA to find ways to rollout this product in deep rural areas wherein people often do not go for cancer screening.
The Committee oversight continues today (23 July) wherein the Committee will have a joint oversight meeting with Public Enterprises at MegaWatt Park, Eskom offices. The Committees will receive a briefing from Eskom on the challenges the entity faces.
Issued by Parliamentary Communication Services on behalf of the Chairperson for the Portfolio Committee on Energy, Mr Fikile Majola