KBF view on proposed New Build Nuclear Station, Thyspunt

The Nuclear New Build has encountered resistance from numerous parties. The role of the Kouga Business forum is not to make a verdict on the appropriateness and affordability of the Nuclear New Build. The role of the KBF is to ensure the successful implementation of this project to the benefit of all the residents in Kouga, once the decision is made and the green light is given. With this in mind, the KBF has engaged with various role players last year and learnt that plans for the implementation of this Mega project at Thyspunt were lacking until 2016. There is currently not sufficient infrastructure and social support for the 12 000 workers with their families that have to relocate to Kouga for this project.

In the last 3 years, we have proactively audited the current infrastructure with the cooperation of the Kouga municipality. We have determined which infrastructures would need to be renovated, upgraded and newly constructed to cope with the influx of the workers and their households. In order to accommodate this project, an additional 3.3 billion rand is needed on top of the current budget.  KBF has participated as an interested party in the EIA process by adding our research and asked the Department of Environmental Affairs to include this need for infrastructure as a condition to the ROD.

We refuse to allow Eskom to transform Kouga into another Lephalale. The money should be allocated from successful vendors prior to the construction of the nuclear station for the infrastructure needed. Our other non-negotiable term is that the development ties in with the appropriate planning from the provincial government with regards to social support in the form of schools, hospitals, policing and municipal services. The KBF will also take the lead on this and convene a Civic Movement to engage role players and let the community’s voice be heard in these decisions.

The Kouga municipality is in a unique position as it is run by the DA on a local level, but the province is governed by the ANC. There is thus a sizeable conflict of policies at play. Unfortunately, the local, provincial and national governments will need to work hand-in-hand to ensure the success of this project. Eskom also has a key role in this project. They are engaging with local parties, but they cannot do anything until the ROD is implemented and it has weathered the inevitable court cases challenging it.

In summary, the KBF is preparing itself to ensure that Eskom, the allocated vendor and the government will supply the infrastructure and social services needed if the Nuclear New Build proceeds. This is necessary to ensure the project is a catapult for growth and prosperity for all in Kouga.