Updated 03 March 2014

Govt energy policy to cost SA taxpayer R700 billion

The SA government insists on going ahead with expensive coal plants, fracking and nuclear projects that will cost South African taxpayers an estimated R700 billion.

Reacting to Minister Pravin Gordhan's budget speech this afternoon, Shanaaz Nel, Response Campaigner for Greenpeace said: "As expected, Minister Gordhan's familiar speech about infrastructure investment, jobs, micro economic reforms, tax incentive schemes, social and economic development hit all the expected cues but continues to hit a sour note with millions of South Africans who have heard it all before.

An estimated R700 billion

"By definition, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different result is referred to as insanity. This budget presentation was clearly a repeat of those of the past few years.

"His budget did not at all tackle how South Africa will pay for President's Zuma's proclamation that nuclear and gas exploration will go ahead.

"The insistence by the administration to go ahead with expensive coal plants, fracking and nuclear projects that will cost South African taxpayers an estimated R700 billion is mind-boggling. Especially as growth and energy demand targets have been overestimated."

Read:  A healthy lifestyle vs. budget blues

Dirty fossil fuels

"South Africa desperately needs to halt all investments in dirty fossil fuels, while increasing its uptake of renewables. While commendable, the 47 renewable energy schemes that are under construction remain insufficient, particularly if South Africa really wants to meet the low-carbon-economy targets by 2030. We know that renewables are efficient, feasible and less expensive than the current electricity plan as outlined in the country's integrated resource plan (IRP).

"As outlined in the Greenpeace energy manifesto, we challenge the honourable minister and his compatriots – and the future administration – to champion an advanced energy revolution by investing in cleaner and more sustainable options for the sake of South Africa's citizens. This country cannot afford to wait until another election year to change course."

Picture: Green economy from Shutterstock

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