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Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and Another v Minister of Energy and Others (19529/2015) [2017] ZAWCHC 50

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Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and Another v Minister of Energy and Others (19529/2015) [2017] ZAWCHC 50

26th April 2017

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In late 2013, the Minister (with NERSA’s concurrence), acting in terms of sec 34 of ERA determined that South Africa required 9.6GW (‘gigawatts’) of nuclear power and that this should be procured by the Department of Energy. The Minister purported to make the determination on or about 17 December 2013. It was, however, only gazetted on 21 December 2015 and delivered to the applicants as part of the record in this matter on or about 23 December 2015. The gazetting and production of this sec 34 determination was at least partly in response to the applicants’ initial case in which, inter alia, a declarator was sought that, prior to the commencement of any procurement process for nuclear new generation capacity, the Minister and NERSA were both required in accordance with ‘procedurally fair public participation processes’ to have determined that new generation capacity was required and must be generated from nuclear power in terms of sec 34(1)(a) and (b) of ERA.

The applicants commenced their review application in October 2015. Prior thereto, on or about 10 June 2015, the Minister had tabled the three IGA’s before Parliament which are the subject of the present constitutional challenge. In chronological order these were agreements between the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the United States of America, concluded in August 1995, the Government of the Republic of Korea, concluded in October 2010 and the Government of the Russian Federation, concluded in September 2014, all in regard to cooperation in the field of nuclear energy.

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On or about 8 December 2016, during these proceedings, the Minister issued a second sec 34 determination along similar lines to the previous sec 34 determination, but now identifying Eskom as the procurer of the nuclear power plants. The determination was made public at the commencement of the initial hearing in this matter on 13 December 2016, occasioning its postponement for several months, and was gazetted on 14 December 2016.

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