Last year, the R1-trillion nuclear deal was set aside by the high court due to a number of procedural irregularities that occurred because former president Jacob Zuma, together with his local and Russian cronies, was intent on sidestepping Parliament to force through a nuclear deal evidence overwhelmingly indicated was not in SA’s best interests. While we can celebrate the victory of civil society and the robustness of the judiciary in the nuclear case, we need to ask whether the government has learnt anything from the fiasco. While there have been no suggestions of similar procedural irregularities to date, the government’s apparent determination to pursue the construction of another two coal-fired power stations in the face of overwhelming evidence that they are not in SA’s interests suggests that the answer is no. By every relevant metric the proposed Thabametsi and Khanyisa coal-fired power plants are bad news for SA. Research carried out by the government’s own Council for Scie...

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