Following a successful joint meeting, the new Kouga Council and Eskom have agreed to meet monthly to share information and key milestones on the proposed nuclear development at Thyspunt.
Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen said the municipality met with senior management from Eskom last week to improve communication between the power utility and Council around Thyspunt. The Eskom delegation was led by Nuclear Programme Director Loyiso Tyabashe.
“The proposed nuclear plant at Thyspunt is probably the biggest development Kouga will ever see, should it receive the go-ahead,” she said.
“Kouga and its people cannot be caught unprepared should this happen. The impact it will have on our communities is massive and cannot be taken lightly. Everyone needs to be fully informed as to where we are and where we are going.”
Eskom’s Nuclear Programme Director Loyiso Tyabashe said: “We are encouraged by the success of this engagement with the Kouga Municipality. Such partnership will enable us to take key stakeholders with us through the journey and help us understand the needs and capacity of the municipality as we await a decision on the project.”
The Mayor emphasized that “the new Council is not against nuclear power per se, but there is no way that we are going to allow Kouga’s people to be disadvantaged by whatever development takes place in our region.”
“Our infrastructure, be it water and sewer or healthcare services, is nowhere near ready for the impact a development of this nature will have on our area,” she cautioned.
Tyabashe said it was important to note that Eskom will work with Kouga Municipality and other key stakeholders to address infrastructural needs so as to get the municipality ready to host the project.
“We want to ensure that we have a commitment from all roleplayers, including other government sectors, to address these shortcomings should the development get the go-ahead. Eskom will support whatever is deemed necessary and appropriate to ensure that the project succeeds,” added Tyabashe.
The Mayor said she was pleased with the outcomes of the new Council’s engagements with Eskom.
“Eskom committed to being transparent and acknowledged that Kouga has an important role to play in all processes regarding Thyspunt.”
She said the Council wanted to encourage all residents and affected parties to take an active interest in the proposed nuclear development and to participate in meetings, hearings and structures intended to facilitate public participation.
Tyabashe concurred, indicating that it was just as important for Eskom that all interested and affected parties had their say in the process leading to the approval and delivery of the project.
“We have followed the process set out by the National Nuclear Regulator and international best practice to ensure that we do not leave key stakeholders outside in the process of getting approvals for the project.”
The new Council and Eskom committed to ensure that Kouga Municipality and its people do not miss on opportunities that would be presented by this nuclear project should it proceed. The next meeting is planned for December and decisions will be communicated to the people of Kouga.