The last-minute invitation to government and parastatal officials, private energy developers, bankers, diplomats and the media to a two-day Energy Indaba at Gallagher Estate last week left most people puzzled. What was the point? Was it a political move to buoy support for the pro-Zuma faction ahead of this weekend’s ANC conference? Was it a pretence at public consultation for a new integrated resource plan (IRP), heavily weighted towards nuclear energy? In April 2017, the High Court in Cape Town ruled nuclear procurement was unlawful and unconstitutional, and ordered the government to follow a process of public consultation. In March, members of the public commented on — and heavily criticised — the base-case scenario for the IRP 2016, and its proposal that by 2050 SA would need 20,000MW of new nuclear power. Or, as one source speculated, was the indaba intended to raise cash to "buy votes" at the forthcoming ANC conference, through an opportunity for some creative over-invoicing o...

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