Activists celebrate seven years since High Court ruling against SA nuclear deal

Vigil at Parliament also marked exactly 38 years since Chernobyl Disaster

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African Climate Alliance programme manager Gabriel Klaasen addressed an anti-nuclear vigil outside Parliament on Friday morning. Photo: Matthew Hirsch

Environmental activists gathered outside Parliament on Friday morning for a vigil to mark the seventh anniversary of a landmark court ruling against the South African nuclear deal.

The 26th of April also marks the 38th anniversary of the Chernobyl Disaster.

The group of about 40 demonstrators chanted, “Power to the people” and “Genoeg is genoeg”, while waving placards reading: “God’s earth needs clean energy” and “Say no to nuclear power”.

The vigil was organised by the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute, partnering with Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, the Green Connection, Koeberg Alert Alliance, Project 90 by 2030, and the African Climate Alliance.

In 2017, The Western Cape High Court ruled that the government’s nuclear agreements with Russia, Korea and the US were unlawful and unconstitutional. In the ruling, Judge Bozalek said: “The applicants estimate the cost, which will ultimately be met by the public through taxes and increased electricity charges, could be one trillion rand, and this estimate was not disputed by the respondents.”

At the vigil, concerns were raised that new nuclear power procurement was back on the table.

“I’m doing this for my children’s children,” said demonstrator Zelda Ann Hintsa from Peace and Healing Circles South Africa. “If we don’t stand up then they can just do anything they want. The government itself is sending out mixed signals and that is a concern.”

“Too often we keep fighting but we don’t take a moment to pause and acknowledge our victories,” said African Climate Alliance programme manager Gabriel Klaasen.

He said the passing of the Climate Change Bill was significant but it remained a concern that nuclear power was still on government’s agenda.

TOPICS:  Civil Society Electricity Nuclear deal

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