A composite of the nuclear symbol and President Jacob Zuma. Pictures: REUTERS, ISTOCK
A composite of the nuclear symbol and President Jacob Zuma. Pictures: REUTERS, ISTOCK

Eskom has already said it can only execute further capital expenditure once government whips out its debt-funded chequebook. In the February budget, Gordhan extended the R350bn guarantee on Eskom’s debt by six years to March 2023. That has been approved specifically for the current capital expenditure of coal-fired power stations Medupi and Kusile, as well as the recently completed Ingula pumped storage scheme.

The procurement of a nuclear fleet to eventually total 9,600MW will require a new debt facility and guarantee. Not only can SA not afford this, but the investment is not needed until at least 2037, according to government’s own energy plan.

In the wake of the recent credit downgrades, the economy is set to slow even further, pushing out the need for nuclear power. The sovereign downgrades mean funding this unnecessary expenditure will be even more prohibitively expensive.

This is the best way to ensure the sovereign sinks further, unnecessarily saddling future generations with debt.

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