The Anglican Archbishop of
Cape Town, the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba, has appealed to the South African
government to scrap plans for developing nuclear energy and instead to spend
the money on education, training and other development initiatives.
The archbishop said in a
statement issued from the church's Synod of Bishops today:
The Synod of Bishops has
revisited the resolution adopted by the church's Provincial Synod last
September, in which the church expressed its opposition to the expansion of
nuclear energy and urged the government to pursue the path of renewable energy
The Synod acknowledges that
President Jacob Zuma committed the government in last year's State of the
Nation address to procure new nuclear energy only on a scale and at a pace that
the country can afford.
We also welcome the
president's acknowledgement in this year's State of the Nation address that
renewable energy will be an important part of the mix of energy sources in the
However, nuclear energy
still remains part of the mix, despite the conclusion in the Department of
Energy's updated Integrated Resource Plan that additional nuclear power,
originally expected in 2023, will not come on stream until 2037.
In a letter to President
Zuma last year conveying the Provincial Synod's appeal, I noted that the
country already has progressive renewable energy initiatives that could lead to
greater sustainability and flexibility.
Solar and wind generation
of power is becoming cheaper and cheaper to develop. By 2037, the energy
generation scenario is likely to have changed completely.
The priority for our
country is the education, training and well-being of its citizens. We should
not impoverish the country through incurring unaffordable debt through
attempting to obtain loans or providing guarantees for Eskom to raise loans for
nuclear power stations.
We are deeply concerned
that an expanded nuclear energy programme will become an albatross around the
necks of our children. And we cannot leave to the generations to come the task
of disposing of our nuclear waste.
We believe that South
Africa has the potential of becoming a renewable energy hub for Africa, with
huge potential for investment in manufacturing and associated employment. We
note that overseas investors are queuing up to invest in our renewable energy programme
and since the design of the programme is such that they provide the finance,
this does not burden our people.Ã‚Â
On Thursday, environmental
justice groups will renew their challenge to the government's planned expansion
of nuclear energy in a court hearing in Cape Town.
ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF THE
ANGLICAN ARCHBISHOP OF CAPE TOWN
For inquiries contact Wendy Kelderman on 021 763 1320 in office hours or after