WATCH: Make hold on nuclear permanent - Cosatu

Cape Town - Cosatu has said it hopes Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba will put a permanent hold on SA’s new nuclear build programme, in the wake of his maiden mini budget address last week. 

Speaking to Fin24 post-budget, Cosatu’s parliamentary deputy coordinator Matthew Parks said the trade union federation was encouraged that Gigaba appeared to have frozen nuclear plans. 

“Reading between the lines and from post-budget interviews, he [Gigaba] basically said that nuclear is not affordable now. He kicked the can down the road for five years. For us I hope that five years is a permanent idea,” he said. 

“Our hope is that the President heard that before he fell asleep during the budget speech and that his Minister of Energy also listened.”

READ: Gigaba says no to nuclear

Parks said the government was being pulled in two directions over the country’s nuclear build programme. On one hand, a succession of finance ministers had cautioned that SA couldn’t afford it. On the other hand, he said the country’s energy ministers were supporting it. 

“We see a bit of a contradiction in government. Finance Ministers Pravin [Gordhan], [Nhlanhla] Nene, Gigaba have all acknowledged that we don’t have money for nuclear, or the  demand for it in the economy,” said Parks.  

“But the ministers of energy have all run in the opposite direction, until the President gets tired of them for not delivering and fires them.” 

Parks said that, while Cosatu was supporting Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s candidature for ANC president at the upcoming ANC elective conference, there was “no more space for friendship or trust anymore”. 

 “Even if our Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa takes over, whom we are supporting very clearly – we haven’t given a blank cheque. We’ve got clear demands.”

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