A file photo shows the Inga dam in DRC. Picture: REUTERS
A file photo shows the Inga dam in DRC. Picture: REUTERS

The request by energy minister Jeff Radebe to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to double the amount of power it will buy from the Inga 3 project from the previously pledged 2,500MW to 5,000MW is unjustifiable (SA willing to double amount of power it will buy from Inga 3, January 22).

It is an example of how decisions are taken by our leadership despite people’s concerns and evidence against such moves. It is clear that the minister is pursuing the controversial Inga 3 deal at all costs.

His request comes on the heels of mounting concerns and opposition to the project raised during the integrated resource plan consultations. Energy experts in SA, civil society and DRC citizens shared their concerns.

Analysis has shown that Inga 3 would be a poor deal for SA and the DRC. Even Eskom, meant to be a beneficiary of the Inga power, questioned the viability of the project and the lack of clarity of the financing model. The question many ask is how the 3,000km transmission line will be funded. According to the treaty with DRC, financing of the transmission line is the responsibility of SA.

Someone needs to inform consumers how much they will pay for Inga 3 power. Inga 3 seems to be one of the magic projects where prices remain constant. Isn’t it amazing that the cost of the project has remained fixed since 2014, yet the design for the Inga 3 project was discarded for a much bigger one without capital costs being revised.

The minister and government owe it to the people to explain this, and why he is pursing the project despite evidence that the deal will be a huge mistake for SA.

The Inga 3 deal is starting to appear increasingly like Jacob Zuma’s nuclear deal.

Ange Asanzi
Africa programme campaigner, International Rivers