South African Institute of International Affairs Dr Jo-Ansie van Wyk 19 July 2013.
The South African government has embarked on a programme to develop the country’s nuclear energy capability in order to meet increasing national energy demand. In order to achieve its nuclear ambitions, government has appointed a cabinet-level committee to oversee the process, while key institutions are restructuring in line with government’s ambitions. The nuclear plans have prompted questions within and outside South Africa due to their opacity and their reliance on institutions of dubious managerial competence and financial integrity. The questionable quality of this management also raises issues concerning the country’s readiness to manage broader socio-economic issues arising from its nuclear planning. The nuclear programme should be seen against the backdrop of increased resource nationalism evident in South Africa’s diplomacy, especially in respect of uranium. All these questions must be addressed by government if the integrity of the nuclear planning process is to be protected.